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Saturday, May 5, 2012

Health Benefits of Singing

Scientists say singing boosts immune system. - Singing strengthens the immune system, according to research by scientists at the University of Frankfurt in Germany, published in the latest edition of the US Journal of Behavioral Medicine. The scientists tested the blood of people who sang in a professional choir in the city, before and after a 60 minute rehearsal of Mozart's Requiem.They found that concentrations of immunoglobin A - proteins in the immune system which function as antibodies - and hydrocortisone, an anti-stress hormone, increased significantly during the rehearsal. A week later, when they asked members of the choir to listen to a recording of the Requiem without singing, they found the composition of their blood did not change significantly. The researchers, who included Hans Guenther Bastian from the Institute of Musical Education at Frankfurt University, concluded singing not only strengthened the immune system but also notably improved the performer's mood.

Singing is good for you. - Many studies done over a number of years have focused on the health benefits of singing, and the evidence is overwhelming.
o   Singing releases endorphins into your system and makes you feel energized and uplifted.  People who sing are healthier than people who don’t.
o   Singing gives the lungs a workout,
o   Singing tones abdominal and intercostal muscles and the diaphragm, and stimulates circulation.
o   Singing makes us breathe more deeply than many forms of strenuous exercise, so we take in more oxygen, improve aerobic capacity and experience a release of muscle tension as well.” — Professor Graham Welch, Director of Educational Research, University of Surrey, Roehampton, UK.

Singing can help prolong life. - Graham Welch, director for advanced music education at London’s Roehampton Institute, states “Singing exercises the vocal cords and keeps them youthful, even in old age. The less age-battered your voice sounds, the more you will feel, and seem, younger.” He says that when you break into song, your chest expands and your back and shoulders straighten, thus improving your posture. Singing lifts moods and clears the “blues” by taking your mind off the stresses of the day, as well as releasing pain-relieving endorphins. As you sing along, the professor adds, your circulation is improved, which in turn oxygenates the cells and boosts the body’s immune system to ward off minor infections. And “it provides some aerobic exercise for the elderly or disabled,” Welch says. A recent German study has shown that active amateur group singing can lead to significant increases in the production of a protein considered as the first line of defense against respiratory infections, and also leads to positive emotional changes. “Given that every human being is, in principle, capable of developing sufficient vocal skills to participate in a chorale for a lifetime, active group singing may be a risk-free, economic, easily accessible, and yet powerful road to enhanced physiological and psychological well-being.”

Sing yourself happy and fit! If you have ever wondered why choral singers look to be on a high, here are some of the reasons. The health benefits of singing are well documented:
·      Singing improves your mood. It releases the same feel-good brain chemicals as sex and chocolate!
·      It is very effective as a stress reliever and improves sleep
·      Singing releases pain-relieving endorphins, helping you to forget that painful tooth/knee/whatever
·      Your posture improves
·      Lung capacity increases
·      Singing clears sinuses and respiratory tubes
·      Your mental alertness improves
·      Singing tones your facial and stomach muscles
·      It boosts your immune system, helping to fight disease and prolonging life expectancy
·      Your confidence increases 

Source: Barbershop Harmony Society

For those of you who would like to record your singing for your own personal sense of achievement, do visit  MY Voice.