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Singing the Praises of Singing for Health

Did you know that singing is actually good for you? And you don’t even have to sound good to feel good and to reward your body with all sorts of healing benefits.

The following article by the YOU Docs, Mehmet Oz and Mike Roizen, was published in the April 21st edition of Oregon Live.


We're big fans of good music, but when it comes to singing, we don't care if you're first soprano in the church choir or just belt out off-key oldies in the shower. Bursting into song lifts your health in ways that surprise even us.

  1. Lower your blood pressure. You may have heard about a woman in Boston whose blood pressure shot up just before knee-replacement surgery. When drugs alone weren't enough, she began singing her favorite hymns, softly at first, then with more passion. Her blood pressure dropped enough for the procedure, which went off without a hitch. Singing releases pent-up emotions, boosts relaxation and reminds you of happy times, all of which help when stress and blood pressure spike.

  2. Boost your "cuddle" hormone. Oxytocin, the same hormone that bonds moms and new babies, also surges after you croon a tune with your peeps.

  3. Breathe easier. If you or someone you know is coping with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, singing just twice a week could make breathing feel easier and life feel better. In fact, in England there are "singing for breathing" workshops. But why wait for a workshop?

  4. Find serenity after cancer. Surviving cancer is a major milestone, but afterward you still have to cope with the memories (tests, diagnosis, treatments) and quiet the "will it come back" worries. Vocalizing can help you blow off steam and stress. Turns out that singing actually calms down the sympathetic nervous system (which tenses up when you do) and boosts activity in the parasympathetic nervous system (which makes you relax).

  5. Rewire the brain after a stroke. Plenty of people who've survived a stroke but lost the ability to speak learn to communicate again by singing their thoughts. Singing activates areas on the right side of the brain, helping them to take over the job of speaking when areas on the left side no longer function. Called Melodic Intonation Therapy, it's used in some stroke rehab programs, and insurance may cover it.

That's not all singing can do. It also helps everyday health, increasing immunity, reducing stress for new moms, quieting snoring, easing anxiety in ways that also may ease irritable bowel syndrome, and just making you feel happier. That's a great return on something you can do in your car, with your kids, in a local choir group, while watching "American Idol" or even in a glee club.

Here's how to put the "glee factor" to work for you:

Off-key? Squeaky? Tone-deaf?

You may get more out of it! In one study, amateur singers felt a rush of joy after warbling, but trained professionals didn't experience any extra elation from singing.

Hymns? R&B? Hip-hop?

It doesn't matter. Just choose tunes that mean something to you. You'll pour more heart into singing and conjure up good memories and healing feelings.

Get the kids in on the act.

Thanks to the television show ("Glee," in case you hadn't figured it out), glee clubs (also called show choirs) are getting hot in schools across the U.S. and Canada. That's great, because kids get a special set of benefits from musical expression, including better grades, less risky behavior, even higher SAT scores.

To learn more about how sound and music can

restore your inner harmony, recharge your brain and relax your body,

call Valerie at 510.232.6024, or email to schedule a session today.

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