And Breathe…How Hitting the high Notes is Helping Covid-19 Patients to Recover

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An English National Opera project created to help Covid-19 patients recover proves that singing is healing for both body and mind. After a trial was 90% of participants  reporting reduced breathlessness and increased well-being within just six weeks. ENO Breathe is now being rolled out across the country.

“As a non -native English speaker ,I wasn’t sure I was going to fit in with ENO,but it has been fantastic tool that has given me my confidence back”, says Geri Ivanova one of the 12 pilot patients.”It’s prevented me from calling my GP about anxiety brought on by breathing issues . I genuinely believe it will take pressure off medical facilities ,”

Starting with lullabies,chosen for their simplicity and ability  to calm,the programme sees experts teach breathing and singing techniques typically used by opera singers , which shift focus from the physical side of the activity to the emotional . Virtual group sessions, held weekly, are combined with at -home exercises. 

Ethnically diverse and aged from 30-70, all members of the pilot  group were referred with symptoms of long Covid. Including ongoing breathlessness, fatigue and anxiety,prior to the programme, the group’s mean Generalised Anxiety Disorder Assessment score was 6.7. After the six weeks , it more  than halved to 3.2. Due to this success, ENO Breathe, a partnership with Imperial College Healthcare NHSTrust, has been made available to a further 1,000 patients in London and the North , with plans to expand it further in coming months.

Author: Andrew Collins

andrewc@gmail.com

London, UK

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