Singing isn’t necessarily the first topic that springs to mind when we’re seeking to live healthier and happier lives, but joining a choir may well prove as beneficial as any fitness regime – but a whole lot more fun!

Worcestershire Breast Unit Haven decided to put it to the test during national Breast Cancer Awareness month! They invited local choir ‘Got 2 Sing’ along to demonstrate to patients, past and present, some warm up techniques and basic vocal harmonies.Singing at Haven

Lexi Craigie, Worcestershire Breast Unit Haven’s fundraising manager, said: “We’ve heard a number of stories from patients explaining how singing and becoming part of a choir has really helped them on their road to recovery and we thought it would be a good opportunity to let others see if it could help them too.”

So what are the health benefits are associated with singing? Singing is an exhilarating activity; a creative experience which can improve mood by producing a hormonal high. Concentrations of Oxytocin (the ‘love hormone’, known for its multiple positive psychological effects influencing social behaviour and emotion) increase significantly when we sing. Oxytocin has been proven to reduce symptoms of anxiety, increase trust, improve relaxation, and even increase romantic attachment (!)

Other perceived benefits of singing include reduction of negative feelings, such as despair, depression and loneliness; and improvement to physical health for those with longstanding difficulties. In particular, the deep controlled breathing associated with singing has been described to counteract stress and give a sense of fitness.

Lastly, singing in a choir is an intrinsically social activity, involving processes of co-operation and co-ordination. The social support and friendly relationships made through choir promote a sense of wider ‘community’, social inclusion and belonging. Happiness indeed!

One patient, Kate Butler, who was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 32 and is a member of Got2Sing choir said: “Being in a choir has enabled me to forget my ‘cancer cloud’ once a week as I’m learning a new skill, meeting new friends, and learning how to sing.”

The evening which had people up on their feet and singing in 3-part harmonies had a happy ending too when the choir presented £1100 to the charity from their ‘Breast Cancer Awareness’ fundraising efforts. Got 2 Sing will also be supporting the charity at its 2017 Symphony Hall Concert to help further with their fundraising efforts.