The old saying may claim that laughter is the best medicine but a new health project in Southwark and Lambeth looks set to prove that it is actually singing that hits the right note.
From next month, groups of patients suffering from an incurable breathing disease will take part in singing sessions as part of a new ‘Singing for Better Breathing’ project.
Sufferers of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), which results in shortness of breath, will join together for free weekly sessions to belt out some classics.
“You might think that living with COPD means that singing is out of the question, but we believe that these sessions will have many benefits,” Dr Stephen Clift told the News.
“The singing will help patients in a holistic way, with both physical and mental benefits. For one thing, it teaches people to manage their breathing and to learn something about how to manage their condition.”
Dr Clift hopes that the benefits will extend beyond the physical, with participants leaving the sessions happier as well as healthier.
He said: “It also has social and psychological positives. When people are unwell there can sometimes be mental health issues, like anxiety or depressing.
“Singing alongside people with the same condition, however, can be really uplifting. It can give people support and some fun. After just an hour of our pilot sessions, people were really buoyed up.”
Wannabe warblers need not be pitch perfect, as the benefit is all in the taking part. Dr Clift hopes that the project will start on a high note next month and hoped all COPD sufferers in the area would soon be singing from the same hymn sheet.
He said: “When everyone is joining in it is great fun – a real party atmosphere!”
From early September, Southwark groups will meet on Tuesday mornings at Surrey Docks Health Centre and on Tuesday afternoons at United Reform and Methodist Church Centre. Lambeth groups will meet on Thursday mornings at Morley College.