Whilst singing can lift our spirits, research evidence suggests it could also improve breathing for people with lung conditions and help us cope with dementia.

The health benefits of singing will be the topic of discussion between behavioural research and clinical experts at this year’s Science Festival in Cheltenham on 4 June when they meet with local singers from Mindsong.

This new health-focussed approach to supporting people in Gloucestershire with persistent respiratory conditions is funded by NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group.

Bespoke ‘Breathe In Sing Out’ singing groups have been set up to help participants to gain more control over their breathing, learning how to manage their condition better, meet people and improve their overall wellbeing.

Trained vocal leaders teach appropriate breathing techniques through singing during the 12 week courses which are now available across the county.

Dr Simon Opher, Clinical Lead for social prescribing with the CCG, said:

“Around 50 people have been referred to the programme so far, and feedback from participants has been really positive, indicating that they feel more positive and less stressed or anxious, both during the singing session and afterwards.

Being part of a group also helps them to gain confidence and a sense of achievement, and feel more like choir members, rather than patients.

Clinical trials have shown that in addition to breathing improvements and increased lung volume, singing can also help people with depression and anxiety and improve voice quality and power for people living with Parkinson’s disease. It can also improve the behaviour and wellbeing of people living with dementia.”

Meanwhile, several participants have reported that they find it easier to breathe after thanks to the courses, saying:

“I have thoroughly enjoyed the Breathe In Sing Out group. It has certainly helped my breathing. I look forward to coming here because we are all in the ‘same boat’. No one thinks that they are better than anyone else. We laugh a lot together. My husband has actually commented that I seem much more relaxed and that I am singing around the house. It is also ‘me time’ gets me out of the house.”

“I’ve enjoyed the group meeting and interaction between us. I’ve found it a great help in correct breathing techniques (and in giving me confidence to join in singing in church once more!). ”

“I have enjoyed doing the breathing exercises and the facial exercises, which have also improved my singing and breathing. It has made a huge difference to my breathing in everyday life and has made me more aware of my breathing patterns and helped me with my dysfunctional breathing, and has prevented me from slipping back into an erratic pattern of breathing and helped me with relaxing. I have enjoyed singing with the others in the group and it is a pleasure to sing with everyone.”

Breathe in Sing out groups are run by Mindsong, a Gloucestershire charity that works with people who have dementia as well as respiratory conditions.

To find out more:

Phone: 01684 273656 or 07989 936270

Email: admin@mindsong.org.uk

Write to: PO Box 205 Tewkesbury GL20 9EL


Cheltenham Science Festival information

BBC CrowdScience: Can Singing Improve Our Health?

Tue 4 Jun 2019 2.00pm – 3.00pm

Cheltenham Ladies’ College, Parabola Arts Centre