Singing could help improve shortness of breath in people with long Covid. (Credits: FangXiaNuo / Getty Images)
Regularly singing lullabies could help people with long Covid to breathe better, according to British researchers. Shortness of breath is one of the most common symptoms of long Covid.Since the start of the pandemic, treatment methods to combat Covid and its symptoms have flourished. The latest in line is singing. This unlikely therapy could improve breathing quality in patients, according to a study conducted by British researchers and published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine.
"Covid-19 can cause long-term illness and disability, which is increasingly appreciated as a major global challenge," the researchers note in the introduction to their study. In the United Kingdom, specialists estimate that 1.3 million people suffer from long Covid, or 2% of the population.
Symptoms include loss of taste and smell, headaches, persistent fatigue, but also continuous shortness of breath, anxiety and reduced quality of life. It is on these last three points that researchers from the UK's Imperial College London and Imperial College Healthcare focused their research.
To carry out their study, the specialists measured the breathing quality of 150 candidates. All of them had been suffering from breathlessness for more than four weeks, some of them also suffered from anxiety.
The researchers divided them into two groups. One group received standard care. The other group followed a program called "ENO Breathe." For six weeks, the participants took singing lessons with singers from the English National Opera. The objective was to learn and sing lullabies, intended to calm and soothe the patients. After the experiment, the participants evaluated their breathlessness at rest and after physical effort.
Those who took the singing class noticed an improvement in their shortness of breath compared to the group that did not follow the "ENO Breathe" program.
"Our findings suggest that mind-body and music-based approaches, including practical, enjoyable symptom-management techniques, might have a role supporting recovery for people with persisting breathlessness following Covid-19," the specialists conclude.