It makes intuitive sense that singing is psychologically good, that it can elevate one’s mood or provide an outlet for expression. But a growing body of science shows that not only is singing mentally healthful, it’s also physically good for you. Studies show that singing can alter brain wave patterns helping people feel more alert, improving mood, and reducing stress. The conscious breathing from the diaphragm involved in singing can itself reduce stress.
As a nation we have become more health conscious and are looking for ways to enjoy getting healthy. Singing has always been fun, but now is known for it’s dual benefit. Researchers and UC Irvine found that levels of an immunoglobulin IgA, which is present in saliva and helps the body fight infections, increased an average of 150% after singing rehearsals and 240% after a public performance. Proof that singing does arouse the immune system.
As long as human beings have existed on this earth, there has been music. The oldest historical documents in any culture or civilization speak of music that soothed the mind or stirred the spirits. Without it we would be bereft of the rhythms, melodies, and harmonies that give us all psychological as well as physiological pleasure and contribute so importantly to our general well-being. Neuroscientist, Daniel J. Levitin and Author of “Your Brain On Music” says “there’s evidence that listening to music produces endorphins and the neurotransmitter dopamine, the so called feel-good hormone.” And if you need another reason to add singing to your life, UC Berkely studies show that when people sing, Oxytocin is released. Oxytocin is the hormone that surges through a new mother after they give birth and when they breast feed, through both men and women when they have sex and through couples when thy gaze romantically into each other’s eyes.
Music lifts us above the daily experiences of life and brings us the reassurance of harmony and balance within ourselves as well as in the universe. As we learn more about the healthful effects of music on the brain and its proper functioning, we gain greater respect for this great gift and noble expression of the human spirit. Research now proves that music does more than please us it is a means of restoring health and wellbeing to our bodies, our spirits, and our communities.
Resources: LA Times 4/23/07 Sing Out Sister! & Your Brain On Music