Gabriel Weston: Sing a song of lung healthBMJ 2019; 364 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l120 (Published 14 January 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;364:l120
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It was a pleasure to read the article ‘Sing a song of lung health’, which highlights the biopsychosocial benefits of group singing for people with chronic lung disease. Furthermore it reflects on how the author and perhaps medical professionals more broadly, might increase the human warmth described in the singing group, in their own clinical practice.
My colleagues and I have been exploring the use of music making, including group singing, as well as dance as a component of holistic care for chronic lung disease outside of the UK. In 2014 I started a twice weekly dance group for people with multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR TB) in rural South Africa involving patients, family members and staff (1). Recently, my colleagues and I, with support from the Singing for Lung Health team described in the article, have set up Singing for Breathing Uganda and with a team from Plymouth University, we have been exploring the use of music and dance for chronic lung disease in the Kyrgyz Republic (2). The participants and staff report the same positive impacts as experienced by Singing for Lung Health participants in the UK – improved physical functioning, symptom control, mood and social relationships.
Increasingly, people with chronic lung disease seek out these groups, attend weekly, year after year and report a broad range of benefits. Such activities deserve our attention. The beneficial impacts do not appear to be limited to the UK and may one day be a low-cost component of holistic care globally.
1) TEDx Dancing Patients, Keir Philip https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_qNzS1iWMw&t=186s
2) Pulmonary Rehabilitation in Kyrgyzstan https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/research/primarycare/fresh-air/pulmonary-reha...
Competing interests: No competing interests