Updated: Mar 24
Singing is a tonic that costs nothing.
We often sing with the car radio, or with our itunes songs. But are we aware of the benefits of singing. Hopefully after reading this, you might find yourself humming a little tune or two more often.
Many people love to sing and will sing at any given opportunity. It maybe with a hairbrush at home , on a kareoke at the pub or maybe in the shower! Some people can sing quite well and others perhaps not at the same level. However, it’s an activity that can be enjoyed by everyone regardless. I know I'm always singing in my car as I go about and if my adult children are with me, we are singing in harmony. Our friends would call us the Von Taap family (Sound of Music). I’m sure you will agree that there is just something positive and uplifting about singing.
People just love to sing. Whether or not they are any good at it or not, who cares! I'm sure people just get the fact that there’s something positive and it feels good to sing out loud.
Believe it or not, there is scientific evidence that shows that singing has many benefits to the mind, body and soul. So lets take a look at those benefits and hope by the time you've read this blog your voices will be echoing across your neighbourhood for all to hear.
Singing Relieves Stress
In 2017 a study measured the amound of cortisol, otherwise known as the stress hormone in the saliva before and after singing. They found that the amount of cortisol was lower after singing, a strong indication that people certainly felt much more relaxed after they had sung and it didn't matter whether they had sang alone or with others. However, the person/s had to be in an environment that did not make them feel anxious in order for it to work.
Singing Stimulates the Immune Response
There’s some evidence to suggest that singing can assist the immune system in fighting illness. In 2004 is was found that in 2 seporate sessions, people either listened to music or sang. It was found that those who had been singing showed higher levels of immunoglobulin A, which is an anti body that secretes to help you fight infections. Although listening to music did have some benefits such as reducing stress hormones, it did not change anything relating to the body's immune system.
Singing Increases Pain Threshold
Singing in a group, regardless of its size, collective singing causes the brain to release endorphons. Thisparticular hormone promotes positive feelings, and can even change how you look at pain tolerance, to a level that just listing to music lacks. In 2012 a study found that singing, drumming and dance in groups released hormones which raises pain tolerance, this was compared to listening to music, which just didn't compare.Researches established that it was the social connection with others that boosted the pain tolerance.
Singing May Improve Snoring
Singing on a regular basis affects the way we breathe even when we don't sing. It was discovered in a study in 2008 singers were less likely to snore that those who were non singers. Through this singing it was suggested that singing should be used as a potential treatment for those who snore. It was also discovered that people who play a musical instrument also snored less than the general population. Taking it that step further it was found that singing or playing a wind instrument may also be beneficial to those who endure obstructive sleep apnea.
Improvement in Lung Functioning
Singing requires deep breathing along with controlled use of muscles in the respiratory system, making it beneficial for certain lung and breathing conditions. It has become recognised through research that breathing techniques which are used in singing offer similar benefits to those who have medical conditions such as:
a) chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD)
c) cystic fibrosis
e) multiple sclerosis
While singing is not used to treat these conditions nor can it cure them, as there may be some gain in strengthing respiratory muscles. Singing also increases the amount of oxygen in the blood and in addition to this singing improves the mood and connection with others.
Singing Promotes a Sense of Belonging and a Connection to Others
When singing with others, can make you feel a bonding in a similar way to a sports team. In 2014 research which in volved 11,000 children demonstrated that children who was singing with others developed a stong sense of being included sociallay. In 2016 further research showed that adult participants singing with others reported a highter state of wellbeing than others who had sang solo. One of the neurochemicals that the brain releases when people feel they are bonded is known as oxytocin, otherwise known as the love hormone. Even spontaneious singing can cause the brain to release the feel good hormone, and this brings as sense of inclusion.
Singing Enhances the Memory of Those With Dementia
People who have dementia endure a gradual experience of memory loss. Research has shown that people with such conditions can recall song lyrics more so than other words. It was also found that they also remembered more than just the lyrics but also the melody and the song itself. They found that those who participated demonstrated that singing familar songs brought back life memories that they had forgotten.
Singing Is Beneficial To Loss
Singing with others assists with physical pain but goes much further than this as it may with emotional pain that is felt after loss has taken place. In 2019 research showed that amongst people who were dealing with loss, it was found that those who had taken part in singing in a choir that their sense of wellbeing was improved. Choir members stated that the felt that there was an improvement in their self esteem. Others who were being studied but not included in the choir did not report these benefits. It was concluded that singing may be a good option for people who require additional support when they have endured loss.
I could go on as the list is endless, but I think it is fair to say that most of us have already arrived at the 'I get it' singing is good for you and even better if you can sing with others. So what are you waiting for? We have many choirs so just pick one and let us know and we'll give you the details. Can't wait to hear you!