Music and singing have been a part of people’s lives for ages. From listening to your favorite artist, to performing with a group of people, music has brought joy to a countless number of individuals. Recently, however, it has been seen as a high-risk activity due to the spread of Covid-19. But could singing actually benefit your health? Tenovus Cancer Care and the Royal College of Music performed a study on cancer patients, and, according to the research, singing has a positive impact on the patients’ health, specifically on their immune system.
According to NCBI, more than 300 studies have been explored for psychosocial interventions for cancer patients as well as survivors. Interventions are strategies used to help patients cope as well as improve their performances in daily skills.The interventions, such as yoga or painting, have been found to reduce anxiety, stress, depression, and overall improve the quality of life. This positive state of mind has been linked to higher immune responses and enhanced cellular function. One growing intervention is the role of music. Many exercises such as music therapy and listening to recordings of music have been used for cancer patients as a way to improve their health. Studies have shown that during the music sessions cancer patients’ mood improvements as well as a reduction of blood pressure.
Throughout the years, new research has found the biological benefits of singing. A study performed by University of East Anglia called the Sing Your Heart Out project joins a number of people who have struggled with their mental health together in a choir. ResearchersProfessor Tom Shakespeare and Dr. Alice Whieldon discovered that those who took part in singing with a group of people found a sense of belonging and improvement in their confidence.The activity was found to help with their recovery and improved their day to day life.
With the studies of music having a positive effect in people’s lives, a group of researchers decided to further test the impact of music. In a study by Tenovus Cancer Care and the Royal College of Music, there were a total 193 members from five different choirs. Choir members gave a sample of their saliva before and after singing for an hour. The samples were then analyzed for changes in hormones, immune proteins, and neuropeptides. Studies have shown the reduction in stress hormones, such as cortisol, and an increase in cytokines. Cytokines are the proteins produced in the autoimmune system’s response to an antigen. Cytokines function as a chemical messenger to regulate the immune system. All of these factors boost the body’s ability to fight serious illnesses. The study also found that the members with the highest levels of depression experienced the greatest overall improvement in their mood as well as reduced levels of inflammation in their body. Due to the reduction of anxiety, stress, and depression involved with singing, researchers have found the activity could possibly improve the health of patients and improve their quality of life.
Although music is still being developed as a treatment for cancer and other ailments, there is no doubt that music has a positive effect on people everywhere. Tenovus Cancer Care will continue their study to test the long term effects that music has on the health and mental wellbeing of cancer patients.