By Kathleen Blanchard | Digital Journal
A new study shows choir singers don’t just harmonize, but they also synchronize their heartbeats when they sing. Scientists liken the breathing associated with choral singing to that of yoga
The finding that comes from researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy at Gothenburg University in Sweden also found a singing slows the heartbeat, which means singing could also be beneficial for heart health.
When we inhale and exhale it stimulates the vagus nerve that is part of the sympathetic nervous system that also controls our blood pressure and heart rate. The sympathetic nervous system is what is responsible for “fight or flight”.
Background information from the study published in the journal Frontiers in Auditory Cognitive Neuroscience states choir singing is known to promote a sense of well-being.
Breathing slower to sing has a beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system that also produces a calming effect. Researchers speculate it might be the type of breathing needed for singing that affects heart rate activity.
For their study, researchers looked at how singing affects heart rate variability (HRV) in combination with breathing called Respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA).
The investigation included 18 healthy participants, both male and female.
The participants were asked to either hum a single tone and breathe whenever they needed, sing a hymn with undying breathing or sing a slow mantra and breathe only between phrases.
The researchers measured the singer’s heart rate throughout the experiment.
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