Sing for your life? Well, maybe. A new study conducted jointly by the Royal College of Music and the UK Cancer charity Tenovus Cancer Care shows that just one hour of choral singing can boost levels of stress fighting hormones and help patients and caregivers feel better.
For the study, 193 members across five different choirs in the United Kingdom submitted to saliva samples before and after an hour of singing. Researchers then analyzed these samples and found that singing for an hour was associated with reductions in the stress hormone cortisol and increases in immune-related proteins. Participants also were given questionnaires to help measure their well-being. Everyone in the five choirs that participated in the study either had been diagnosed with cancer, or had cared for someone with the disease. Researchers hope that this new information will encourage cancer survivors to find ways to beat stress and their caretakers can also have an outlet for the anxiety and fatigue that can come with caring for someone who is seriously ill.