Singing could be a cost-effective way to improve the health of people with degenerative lung disease

July 12, 2013

Ground breaking research, carried out by Canterbury Christ Church University, has found that group singing can improve the health and quality of life of people living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

Around 800,000 people in the UK have been diagnosed with COPD and the NHS has estimated that a further two million people are living with the disease and have not been diagnosed.

The Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health at Canterbury Christ Church University has published their research, An evaluation of community singing for people with COPD, which has discovered some life changing conclusions for people living with COPD.

Professor Stephen Clift, Director of the research project within the Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health, said: "For the first time, this new research has shown that regular group singing can help to improve breathing and general .

"The positive improvements found in the participant's lung functions were very encouraging, especially given that a decline in these measures might have been expected as COPD is a deteriorating disease.

"We have found that group singing is an innovative initiative to help people with COPD engage in physical and social activity to support their independence and , giving them .

"The study was supported by the British Lung Foundation, and we will be working with them to explore ways of promoting more singing groups for people with COPD."

The aim of the report was to explore the feasibility of weekly community singing for people with COPD and to access impact on lung function, functional capability, and quality of life.

COPD is a progressive illness that worsens over time and over the ten week period that the research was taking place it would be expected for a decline in heath to occur.

The final report, published by the Sidney De Haan Centre for Arts and Health, provides evidence showing that participants reported improvements in their breathing, activity levels and wellbeing and that the singing groups were enjoyable social events.

Over one hundred patients with COPD, ranging from mild to very severe were recruited into the study from across East Kent. Participants took part in ninety minutes group sessions where they spent thirty minutes socialising with their peers, twenty minutes of relaxation, posture and breathing exercises and forty minutes of singing.

The capacities of the lungs of individuals were measured before the start of the project and the end revealing significant improvements in breathing. Questionnaires widely used in medical research with people with breathing difficulties were also used in the research which showed changes to the participant's quality of life.

Over a period of 36 weeks, between September 2011 and June 2012, group singing sessions were held for people with COPD and their friends, families and carers. The group participants were invited, through their local GP's, to attend a ninety minute group singing session every week. After each session the of the participants was measured and personal comments were recorded as part of a self-assessment.

The finding of the study suggest that singing is perceived as both acceptable and beneficial to this group, not only for breathing but also in relation to general physical, psychological and social wellbeing. Participants were able to identify various mechanisms whereby benefits were accrued which will benefit the Sidney De Haan's future research into Singing and Health.

Explore further: First large scale community study into the value of group singing for older people with lung disease

Related Stories

First large scale community study into the value of group singing for older people with lung disease

January 30, 2013
The research was undertaken by Canterbury Christ church University's Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health, following a grant of £130,000 from The Dunhill Medical Trust.

Study into benefits of singing proves positive impact on health

August 17, 2012
A pioneering research project to measure the value of singing for older people has revealed a consistently higher measure of health for those involved in community singing programmes.

Melody modulates choir members' heart rate

July 8, 2013
When people sing in a choir their heart beats are synchronised, so that the pulse of choir members tends to increase and decrease in unison. This has been shown by a study from the Sahlgrenska Academy at University of Gothenburg ...

COPD patients experience poorer sleep quality and lower blood oxygen levels

September 20, 2012
Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) experience poorer sleep quality than people of a similar age without COPD, according to research published in the journal Respirology.

Allergic disease worsens respiratory symptoms and exacerbations in COPD

May 10, 2013
Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who also have allergic disease have higher levels of respiratory symptoms and are at higher risk for COPD exacerbations, according to a new study from researchers ...

Heart health impacts wellbeing of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

October 14, 2011
A new study has found that processes that control heart rate play an important role in the quality of life experienced by patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The study, which was published in the journal ...

Recommended for you

A large-scale 'germ trap' solution for hospitals

July 26, 2017
When an infectious airborne illness strikes, some hospitals use negative pressure rooms to isolate and treat patients. These rooms use ventilation controls to keep germ-filled air contained rather than letting it circulate ...

Male hepatitis B patients suffer worse liver ailments, regardless of lifestyle

July 25, 2017
Why men with hepatitis B remain more than twice as likely to develop severe liver disease than women remains a mystery, even after a study led by a recent Drexel University graduate took lifestyle choices and environments ...

Researchers report new system to study chronic hepatitis B

July 25, 2017
Scientists from Princeton University's Department of Molecular Biology have successfully tested a cell-culture system that will allow researchers to perform laboratory-based studies of long-term hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections. ...

Mind-body therapies immediately reduce unmanageable pain in hospital patients

July 25, 2017
Mindfulness training and hypnotic suggestion significantly reduced acute pain experienced by hospital patients, according to a new study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Research examines lung cell turnover as risk factor and target for treatment of influenza pneumonia

July 24, 2017
Influenza is a recurring global health threat that, according to the World Health Organization, is responsible for as many as 500,000 deaths every year, most due to influenza pneumonia, or viral pneumonia. Infection with ...

Scientists propose novel therapy to lessen risk of obesity-linked disease

July 24, 2017
With obesity related illnesses a global pandemic, researchers propose in the Journal of Clinical Investigation using a blood thinner to target molecular drivers of chronic metabolic inflammation in people eating high-fat ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.