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Singing therapy pioneered in Medway

Wed 19 June 2019, 3:50 pm

New research on the positive psychological effects of regular group singing on patients with a common lung problem has started in Medway.

Researchers from Canterbury Christ Church University’s Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health are working with Medway Community Healthcare Respiratory Team and academics from the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Kent, on the project with people who have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

An estimated 1.2 million people live with COPD, which makes it the second most common lung disease in the UK after asthma.

The Medway study will be a randomised controlled trial with 100 participants, where half join a weekly singing group meeting for ten weeks, and the comparison group do not get to sing. Once the project finishes, members of the group who did not sing can follow the same singing programme.

Chris Gedge, head of research for Medway Community Healthcare, said he was “delighted” to work on the “innovative and exciting project.” He added: “We will be doing everything we can to encourage patients with COPD in our care across Medway to take advantage of this opportunity to assess the possible benefits of singing for breathing difficulties.”

The Sidney De Haan Research Centre and the University of Kent previously collaborated on a study on the impact of singing on a group of people with COPD in south London. Findings showed regular singing helped improve social and psychological wellbeing, as well as modified breathing patterns and reduced breathlessness.

Professor Stephen Clift, director of the Sidney De Haan Centre, said: “Standard medical treatments can help ease the symptoms but there is no cure for this condition.

“Difficulties with breathing can also lead people to feel anxious and depressed and feel socially isolated. An activity like regular group singing may help to address psychological and social consequences of the illness and may help people to better manage their breathing difficulties.”

People with COPD in Medway who are interested in taking part can get further details from Di White at the Sidney De Haan Research Centre on 07515 191712 or email

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