UK docs ad­vise singing to sooth breath­ing trou­bles

Modern Healthcare - - OUTLIERS ASIDES & INSIDES -

Out­liers loves go­ing to Lon­don, es­pe­cially for the per­form­ing arts. And while the Royal Al­bert Hall may be the first place vis­i­tors think of when they want to hear a good per­for­mance in Lon­don, they might get more of a unique ex­pe­ri­ence down the road at Royal Bromp­ton Hos­pi­tal.

That’s be­cause once a week, pa­tients with res­pi­ra­tory prob­lems, in­clud­ing asthma, em­phy­sema and chronic ob­struc­tive pul­monary dis­ease, are treated to vo­cal ex­er­cises and sing songs that have their ori­gins in places as far away as Ghana and Poly­ne­sia.

At first glance, it might seem that the singing is ther­a­peu­tic in a re­lax­ing sense. But that’s not the pri­mary ther­a­peu­tic rea­son for the per­for­mance: Doc­tors think the type of breath­ing used by singers could also help pa­tients with lung ail­ments. “Since many peo­ple en­joy singing, we thought it would help them as­so­ciate con­trol­ling their breath­ing with some­thing pleas­ant and pos­i­tive rather than a stan­dard phys­io­ther­apy tech­nique,” Nicholas Hop­kin­son, the hos­pi­tal’s top chest physi­cian, told the As­so­ci­ated Press. “It’s al­most ac­ci­den­tal that they learn some­thing about their breath­ing through singing,” he said.

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