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Lift Your Voice: The Healing Power of Singing in a Choir



Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 04/13/16

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From our sister site, For Her: 

Whether you can sing like Adele or can’t carry a tune, it’s hard to deny that the act of singing itself is fun. Who can resist singing in the shower, or humming your favorite new Taylor Swift song while cleaning or cooking? It makes everyday tasks more enjoyable. And that joy often increases when we sing together in a group setting—whether in an organized choir, in the pews at church, in the bleachers at a baseball game, around the table at a birthday party, or sitting on stumps ’round the campfire. Everyone who joins in gets a little mood boost, even those who can’t sing well.
As it turns out, there’s a reason for that: a Swedish study showed increased oxygen and oxytocin (the “happy” hormone) levels in people who sing together. Both the increased oxygen and oxytocin lower stress and blood pressure. Another study showed choir members showed less “mental distress” a year after joining.
But the euphoric powers of singing together goes even deeper than that. According to new research, singing in a choir—even just for an hour—has been shown to help some individuals fight cancer. The mood-boosting benefits of singing in a choir “put[s] people in the best possible position to receive treatment, maintain remission, and support cancer patients,” according to a new study by Tenovus Cancer Care and the Royal College of Music. “Singing in the choir is about more than just enjoyment, it genuinely makes you feel better,” says Diane Raybould, a former cancer patient (and mother to a daughter who died from breast cancer), told Science Daily. The choir leaders play a huge part, of course, but so does the support of the other choir members, the inspirational program and uplifting songs. The choir is a family, simple as that. Having cancer and losing someone to cancer can be very isolating. With the choir, you can share experiences openly and that is hugely important.”

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