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Singing On Prescription?

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Singing On Prescription?
This week, my interest was piqued and eyebrows raised by an online petition calling for the UK government to consider making singing available on prescription. Now, it could be argued that the UK government has bigger fish to fry at the moment, what with Brexit and all… but let’s not go down that rabbit hole or we’ll be here all day.

I’m not for a moment suggesting that singing is a cure for all ills – it clearly isn’t – but there is an overwhelming amount of research to suggest that it’s an extremely useful tool when used as part of a total care package. For example, we know that singing has a positive effect on people with Parkinson’s, dementia, lung disease, anxiety, depression, and even social issues such as loneliness. What’s not to love?

The easiest way to get people singing is to join a choir. (Did you know nearly 3 million Brits now sing in choirs? That was unheard of outside of choral societies as little as ten years ago)! They work on so many levels, including getting people out of the house, exercising the old grey matter, exercising the body itself, improving breathing, lowering stress levels and raising your happy hormones among many other benefits. It’s also been shown that people singing in groups form bonds more quickly than the norm, so if you’re organising corporate ‘team building’ events and you’ve been sending your employees white water rafting, you might want to try sending them to a singing workshop…

But what about people who would find it difficult to function in a ‘normal’ choir? If you’ve got a debilitating illness it might be way too much to try to function as part of a large group of able-bodied people, so what do you do then? Singing on your own, whilst enjoyable, doesn’t bring with it any of the benefits of singing with others, and you might not know how to approach it in such a way as to alleviate your symptoms. That’s where a properly-led singing-for-health group might come in very useful. They exist in all kinds of formats all over the country, with some specialising in particular illnesses or conditions. Given the huge range of health benefits on physical, mental and emotional levels, might it not be a good idea for GPs to be able at least to refer their patients to groups like this? With that in mind: dear reader, I signed the petition – not because I think that ‘singing on prescription’ is going to be brought into law any time soon, but because perhaps we could at least start discussing it as a form of treatment that has genuine benefits for those with chronic health problems. If you’re interested in seeing what happens when we at least try to try something new, here’s the link:

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/211288211288

And if you’re interested in some of the research, have a look here:

Royal Society Open Science

Canterbury Christ Church University Time

So… who’s up for that team building event? 😁

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