Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Group Singing is good for the heart

Melody Synchronizes Choir Members' Heart Rate

When people sing in a choir their heart beats are synchronized and the pulse of choir members tends to increase and decrease in unison. 

A study published in Frontiers in Neuroscience from Sahlgrenska Academy at University of Gothenburg has shown that music in biological terms, affects our body and our health and can be used for medical purposes, primarily within rehabilitation and preventive care.

In December 2012, Björn Vickhoff and group brought together fifteen 18-year-olds at Hvitfeltska High School in Gothenburg and arranged for them to perform three different choral exercises: monotone humming, singing the well-known Swedish hymn "Härlig är Jorden" (Lovely is the Earth) as well as the chanting of a slow mantra. The heart rhythm of the choir members was registered as they performed in each case.

The results showed that the music's melody had a direct link to the cardiac activity of the individual choir member. To sing in unison had a synchronising effect so that the heart rate of the singers increased and decreased at the same time.

Singing regulates activity of vagus nerve which is involved in our emotional life and our communication with others and affects our vocal timbre. 

Songs with long or short phrases achieve the same effect as if breathing slow or fast in yoga. In other words, through song we can exercise a certain control over mental states.

Singing leads to a calm and regular breathing pattern which has a dramatic effect on heart rate variability.

During normal breathing both the heart rate and pulse decreases when breathing out and increases when breathing in.

Breathing out activates the vagus nerve that lowers the heart rate. 

The vagus breathing connection is more pronounced with young people in good physical condition and not subject to stress.

For example singing a song with long phrases will reduce respiratory rate and in turn the heart rate and vice versa with singing small phrases. 

In Vedic knowledge it is well described that people who chants together influences even the people who are not chanting and the health effects in people who chant together are higher than when they chant alone. If one percent of the society meditates together the health effects ate on the whole society.

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