You may not be good enough to perform in front of thousands at Madison Square Garden or Hollywood Bowl, but this doesn’t mean you can’t have a little sing in the car, the shower, and around the office and home. In fact, singing has a number of health benefits and is thought to be therapeutic. Let’s break down the benefits today!
We all have stress in life, and singing has been shown to relieve this stress when it all gets too much. Whenever we make any music, we find relaxation, and this often comes from the release of muscle tension. What’s more, cortisol (the stress hormone) that usually courses through the blood reduces.
As well as reducing cortisol, singing has been shown to encourage the release of endorphins. In case you didn’t know, this is a brain chemical that makes us feel energized and happy – it’s the same chemical that’s released during exercise.
Additionally, the sacculus is a small organ found in the ear and it was discovered not too long ago by scientists. When we sing, this tiny organ responds to the frequencies we create. It doesn’t matter whether the singing is any good, it will still bring a sense of pleasure.
Although it sounds simple, the third way singing acts as an anti-depressant is by taking our mind off of the stresses in life. Forget the world, just sing away; the fact that you’re singing your favorite songs is yet another benefit.
Mental Alertness, Memory, and Concentration
Did you know that The Alzheimer’s Society launched a campaign called ‘Singing for the Brain’? This is because singing can oxygenate the bloodstream and improve circulation; these combine to bring more oxygen to the brain. Not only does this aid alertness, but it also boosts concentration and memory. For The Alzheimer’s Society, they’re hoping that those with Alzheimer’s and dementia can keep their memories for longer.
When it comes to the therapeutic nature of singing, it’s not all in the mind. Thanks to the University of Frankfurt and their research, we know that singing can help the immune system. That’s right, the blood of a professional choir was tested before and after rehearsal; by the end, there was a significant increase in the number of proteins within the immune system in most cases. When the members listened to music, the same effect did not take place.
Elsewhere, singing can be considered exercise because proper singing techniques will get the lungs active. For the elderly or disabled who can’t exercise freely, experts often recommend singing. It also encourages circulation and builds up the strength of the diaphragm. Although there’s less evidence to support it, some even believe that stamina and aerobic capacity improve since singing requires us to pull more oxygen into the lungs.
Finally, singing could help sleep apnea and snoring by strengthening the palate and throat muscles. As you’re encouraged to stand up straight, it could also help with posture.
Even after this, we also believe in the social benefits of singing because these can have an impact on mental and physical wellbeing. You can feel more confident, join a choir and sing with others (and this, in turn, will widen your social circle), improve your understanding of other singers and their ability, and improve communication skills. If you want to know why we sing to babies, some believe it prepares their young brains for language in later life.