Published: 12:05, 15 May 2019
| Updated: 08:50, 22 May 2019
They say music soothes the soul but did you know that it can also help people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)?
Researchers in Kent say singing groups can help people living with respiratory conditions to cope when breathlessness restricts their lives.
Older adults have already shown improvements in mental wellbeing as well as a decrease in feelings of loneliness.
The latest research currently underway assesses the benefits of regular group singing for people with COPD and a further study will soon be taking place in Medway in late June.
That study will be a controlled trial and around a hundred local residents are currently needed to take part.
Researchers from Canterbury Christ Church University’s Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health have teamed up with the Medway Community Healthcare Respiratory Team as well as academics from the University of Kent's School of Sport and Exercise Sciences for this latest project in Kent.
But prior to the study taking place, a series of taster sessions will get underway in late May to early June to give those interested in participating a feel of what the study will be all about.
"COPD is a major health issue in the UK that affects many people and while there are standard medical treatments that can help ease the symptoms, there is currently no cure for this condition," said Professor Stephen Clift who is Director of the Sidney De Haan Centre.
"Difficulties with breathing can lead people to feel anxious and depressed and feel socially isolated.
See a Singing for Better Breathing group in action in the video below.
"An activity like regular group singing may help to address psychological and social consequences of the illness and may help people to better manage their breathing difficulties."
According to figures from the British Lung Foundation, COPD is one of the leading causes of ill-health and mortality in the UK while 2% of the entire population - and 4.5% of all people aged over 40 - currently live with the condition.
That equates to around a million people living with diagnosed COPD making it the second most common lung disease in the UK after asthma.
"We are currently looking for a hundred participants, half of whom would join a weekly singing group for ten weeks and half would be a ‘comparison group’ who do not sing."
After the project finishes, members of the comparison group will be offered the opportunity to join a singing group.
During the study, researchers will use cutting edge scientific techniques to investigate the impact of singing of COPD lung function, physical capacity and breathing pattern.
“We’re really excited to be working with Canterbury Christ Church University and the University of Kent on what is an innovative and exciting project,” added Chris Gedge who is Head of Research for Medway Community Healthcare.
“We will be doing everything we can to encourage patients with COPD in our care across Medway to take advantage of this opportunity to assess the possible benefits of singing for breathing difficulties.”
If you’re interested in taking part in the singing group study in Medway, contact the Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health on 07515 191 712 or email email@example.com.