A scientific research has found that singing in a choir can help boost the immune system and even fight cancer.
Singing has always been known to improve the mood, but now scientists are saying that just an hour of singing in a choir can release significant amounts of immune protein which have the function of fighting numerous illnesses including cancer.
The research was conducted by scientists at the Imperial College London, University College London and the Royal College of Music. The researchers found that singing reduces stress hormones like cortisol and increases immune proteins like cytokines.
Health practitioners believe that when a person is stressed or anxious, the immune system becomes strained. The opposite happens when the body is more relaxed and at ease, this allows the immune system to perform its major function at its optimum.
To carry out the research, 193 members of different choirs in Cardiff, Bridgend, Pontypridd, Cwmbran and Swansea in the United kingdom were tested. 55 members of the participants had been diagnosed with cancer.
The singers gave samples of their saliva before and after an hour of singing. These samples were studied and analyzed to see if the singing might have had any effect on their hormones and immune proteins.
The results revealed that not only were inflammations which also cause a strain on the immune system were reduced, but people who were previously depressed before the singing session were significantly in better spirits.
Dr Ian Lewis, director of research and policy at Tenovus Cancer Care and co-author of the research, said;
“These are really exciting findings.We have been building a body of evidence over the past six years to show that singing in a choir can have a range of social, emotional and psychological benefits, and now we can see it has biological effects too
“We’ve long heard anecdotal evidence that singing in a choir makes people feel good, but this is the first time it’s been demonstrated that the immune system can be affected by singing. It’s really exciting and could enhance the way we support people with cancer in the future.”
Co-author of the research, Rosie Dow who is the head of Sing with Us project at Tenovus Cancer Care, reiterated the statement, adding that,
“I’ve seen peoples’ lives transformed through singing in our choirs so knowing that singing also makes a biological difference will hopefully help us to reach more people with the message that singing is great for you – mind, body and soul.”
The research which was published in the journal ECancer Medical Science reached the conclusion that such a singing exercise leaves a patient in the best possible position to receive treatments and hinder tumors from returning.