How Singing Can Bring You Better Health
How Singing Boosts Your Immune System
Singing Boosts Your Immune System.
Yes, that's right. It really does. Singing can make you healthy and happy and studies have shown this to be absolutely true. A study published in ecancermedicalscience shows a direct relationship between the immune system, singing, and a positive attitude sprinkled with laughter.
- Singing tends to boost immunoglobulin A (an antibody that fights upper respiratory disease); and it tends to boost killer T-cells, which are antibodies that fight infection.
- Our immune system is being challenged constantly by making unhealthy choices when we eat as well as lack of exercise, pollution and stress. If we don't have a strong immune system we become susceptible to germs. And you know what that means.
- If you are one of the many people who have a 'hang-up' about singing, it might be a good idea to simply let it go and begin the habit of singing every day. It only takes a couple of minutes and you can combine it with other activities.
- Singing is easy and fun and can be done while driving, cleaning, showering, gardening and even while doing the laundry. And you don't have to sound like your favorite vocalist to sing. If you can speak, you can sing. Why? Because singing is sustained speech supported by air.
Singing Offers Health Benefits
The health benefits of singing are both physical and psychological.
- Singing has physical benefits because it is an aerobic activity that increases oxygenation in the blood stream and exercises major muscle groups in the upper body, even when sitting.
- Singing has psychological benefits because of its positive effect in reducing stress levels through the action of the endocrine system which is linked to our sense of emotional well-being. (Another reason I smile more than the average bear.)
- Singing exercises your heart and lungs therefore prolonging life.
- Singing makes you feel good because it produces endorphins.
- Your posture will improve as you sing.
- Singing improves mental alertness.
- Circulation improves when singing.
- Belly breathing used in singing aids in relaxation of body and mind.
- Diaphragmatic breathing, used in singing, increases oxygenation in the blood stream.
These benefits are rewarding enough to change anyone's thinking as to whether they should sing in spite of how they sound. and further more we are born to sing!
Singing Is Your Birthright
Singing belongs to everyone, not just a selected few. And because singing can aid in keeping you healthy and happy, now is the time to claim that right and to fill your heart and soul with song.
You can even write your own song ( compose ), by adding a melody to your very thoughts. You can make up any melody you like. Don't judge your composition and your song doesn't have to be perfect. Once your song is complete, sing your words and thoughts freely and make it fun.
When I teach new students to sing, I ask each one to introduce themselves by singing their first and last name. The second step to get each one to sing is to add to their name what it is they love to do.
An example: Sing - "My name is hub honey and I love to write." Make your melody go up and down, fast or slow, high and low. Forget about making sense, how you sound, or if it's right or wrong. Just do it!
When you were born, you sang your first song in the form of a very loud, well formed, cry. You didn't give a hoot about anyone in the room liking your cry. You formed your pitch all by yourself and resonated your full marvelous sound as you proudly announced your arrival into this wonderful world.
Your own unique and individual sound is waiting to be released and set free. The reward for singing your song is less stress, a good feeling, and better health.
And this...is How Singing Can Make You Healthy and Happy.
Singing Helps Stroke Victims to Speak Again
Stroke victims can be helped by singing. The area of the brain which controls singing is in a different area than for speaking. So if the speech is affected during a stroke, they can learn to make vowel sounds by singing.
At Harvard Medical School in Boston, Dr. Gottfried Schlaug (neurology professor), led a trial on this. He discovered that after a single session, stroke patients who were are not able to form any intelligible words learned to say the phrase "I am thirsty" by combining each syllable with the note of a melody.
Supporting My Family As A Singer
I'm so very blessed to have had a mother to encourage me to sing. She found opportunities which led me to sing publicly from the time I was four years of age. I started out as a church vocalist at the age of 7. The thing I enjoyed most was entertaining seniors with demensia and those who were just plain lonely.
I love to sing. My singing voice and piano interpretations helped me support three children and a dog.
I worked hard. If I wasn't on a stage somewhere in Hawaii or out in the middle of the ocean on a cruise ship performing, I was busy using my voice to teach others how to sing. I'm not complaining. I'm thankful that I could make a good living for my family doing what I love most. I've been able to live my dream and share my passion with grateful audiences through music.
But more importantly, I've been a pretty happy person in spite of life's ups and downs. And I know there is a direct connection to singing and being happy.
It doesn't matter whether you sing well or just get by. Can't carry a tune in a bucket you say? So what? It isn't a great voice that makes you happy and healthy, It's the act of singing that does the job.
Singing is merely sustained speech. Just start with one word and hold on to it and that, my friend is singing.
Just Sing, Sing a Song
The late singer, Karen Carpenter, had a voice of velvet. Along with her brother Richard they recorded a string of top 10 hits in the early '70s. Karen died of heart failure brought on by anorexia nervosa in February of 1983.
Sing Was one of Karen's most loved songs. It was written by Louis Prima and contains a wonderful message for us all.
"Sing; sing a song
Sing out loud
Sing out strong
Sing of good things, not bad
Sing of happy not sad
Sing; sing a song
Make it happy
To last your whole lifelong
Don't care if it's not good enough
For anyone else to hear
Just sing—sing a song."
So much wisdom is found in this song. The lyrics send a truthful message. What do we care whether or not others like our singing? Belting out a song is fun and it doesn't cost a cent. And what's more...it's healthy.
You're going to be surprised as you discover the wonderful health benefits of singing a song. Mentally you'll be more positive, and physically, just using the diaphragmatic muscle brings energy and a feeling of well-being.
How Does Breathing From the Belly Improve My Health?
Your entire body breathes, and your whole body is affected in a positive way when you breathe right. Between each breath, a small amount of carbon dioxide stays in your lungs and just sets there getting stale.
If you breathe from your chest instead of your belly, an imbalance occurs in pretty much everything in your body and nervous system. Breathing from your belly (diaphragmatic breathing) helps to squeeze out that stale air and gives plenty of room in your lungs for new, oxygen-rich air. Here's a link for learning the belly breath.
Most of us breathe the wrong way. Your body wants to breathe in the way it was designed to by using the belly and lower ribcage and not the chest.
Changing your breathing will boost your immune system, give you energy and help you relax. It also lowers the oxidative stress that causes aging and fuels every cell in your body. How about that?
Get busy and learn diaphragmatic breathing to improve your mind, body, and soul.
Belly Breathing or Diaphragmatic Breathing Exercise
Inhale by inflating the ribcage
Hold in air for 5-10 seconds
Release air slowly while hissing
Repeat exercise sitting or lying on back with feet flat on the floor
Take a deep comfortable breath firming up the diaphragm
Draw the air up through the vocal cords
Sing a favorite phrase
Release the air slowly as you sing
Lay on the floor on your back with the feet flat on the floor.
Place a book on your abdomen.
Lift the book as you inhale
Exhale slowly and lower the book
Sing Daily For A Happier, Healthier Life
I sincerely want to encourage you to make the choice to sing. And encourage family members to sing as well. Group singing is sometimes easier because the tune is being shared by others.
Older folks who spend endless days filled with loneliness just love to hear singing. Take your family to a rest home or nursing home for the elderly and entertain them with a song or two.
Join a church or community choir. The world will never turn down a song - especially when it comes from the heart.
The message is clear. Singing is good for your health. As my dad used to say, "Singing is good for what ails you."
Don't allow your own lack of confidence prevent you from expressing yourself through singing. Change your thinking to change your voice. Maybe it's time to stop comparing your unique vocal sound to your favorite artist. Flush all negativity down the toilet where it belongs.
Accept your voice regardless of what anyone says. Embrace your own sound to live a healthy and happy life.
Sing with joy!
Do you like to sing?
"The only thing better than singing is more singing,"
Fancourt, D., Williamon, A., Carvalho, L. A., Steptoe, A., Dow, R., & Lewis, I. (2016). Singing modulates mood, stress, cortisol, cytokine and neuropeptide activity in cancer patients and carers. Ecancermedicalscience , 10 , 631. doi:10.3332/ecancer.2016.631
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2012 Audrey Hunt