An amazing 96 percent of patients with lung conditions attending a “Singing for Breathing” program in the United Kingdom (UK) report improvement.
Research done by UK scientists has shown that singing therapy can improve lung function in a variety of conditions including asthma, COPD and cystic fibrosis.
The program consists of six weeks of twice-weekly voice lessons, followed by once-a-week maintenance classes. It is sponsored by the British Lung Foundation and is held at 55 clinics across Great Britain.
The British scientists feel that singing improves lung function in a variety of ways:
First of all, it strengthens the muscles of respiration: the diaphragm, the intercostal muscles and the chest wall muscles. Secondly, it helps dilate the airways by substantial exhalation and greater air movement. Thirdly, training the laryngeal muscles helps prevent laryngospasm that often occurs in asthmatics and COPD patients. Fourthly, the positive effects associated with singing help both airway patency (openness) and chest wall muscle function. Finally, participants were trained to try singing a sustained note as a mechanism to stop a coughing/wheezing attack prior to reaching for a rescue inhaler. More often than not, the sustained note was therapeutic.