Singing for respiratory health: theory, evidence and challenges

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Abstract

The premise that singing is a health promoting activity for people with respiratory conditions of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma is a growing area of interest being investigated by researchers from various disciplines. The preliminary evidence, a theoretical framework and identification of methodological challenges are discussed in this perspective article with an eye to recommendations for further research to advance knowledge. After a brief summary of main research findings on singing in healthy people to provide background context, research is reviewed on singing in people with COPD and asthma. Studies include published research and as yet unpublished work by the authors. Methodological challenges arising from the reviewed studies are identified such as attrition from singing or control groups based on weak and strong, respectively, beliefs about singing's effectiveness. Potential solutions for these problems are considered with further recommendations made for other singing research.

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