For people who need an excuse to sing in the shower or crank up those Christmas carols, this is welcome news! Experts have revealed that singing may actually have both physical and psychological benefits.
For centuries, civilisations across the world have used music and song to promote health and healing. In Australia though, few people are aware of this capacity.
“At some point in history, Westerners separated the creation of song into two categories. The watchers and the doers, the performers and their audience”, says Elisa James, a vocal coach with a Masters degree in holistic health.
“In so many other civilisations song was, and still is, created by a community. It was performed in a circle with collective rhythm and beat, to celebrate everything from birth to death”.
According to James, singing causes measurable physical changes, which also have related psychological benefits. “Singing lowers your blood pressure, it improves your breathing capacity, it straightens your posture and it actually tunes your brain to distinct soundwaves”.
“In turn, singing can reduce your stress levels, improve your focus and allow you to express your emotions in a strong and healthy way”, says James. As with other physical activities, singing also releases endorphins, the hormones associated with happiness and positivity.
Singing doesn’t just have benefits for individuals. In fact, singing helps foster stronger communities. “Singing provides a creative outlet for people, which is incredibly important because we are all born with an intrinsic creative spark”, explains James.
“Singing with other people allows us to connect our voices to a musical force that is greater than ourselves. It allows us to break past our limitations and be empowered by a group”.
There are certainly many examples of music and song bolstering communities. For example, the Choir of Hard Knocks, which was made up of homeless Australians. Then there was Sing Australia, which gave voice to drought-affected farmers.
“Religious communities throughout the world use chanting and song to elevate their consciousness, and to articulate complicated thoughts about humanity and the afterlife”, explains James.
Singing emits vocal resonations and vibrations, that can actually be measured as units of energy. James believes these vibrations could be the key to future advancements in health and science.
“Sound is amazing, and we don’t know enough about its physical or psychological power”.