Parkinson’s Disease is a frustrating and frightening medical condition, and treatment options are few. However, a group in Canterbury, England may have made a surprising discovery that could benefit not only them, but everyone else in the world – singing seems to make them feel better.
Canterbury Christ Church University’s Skylark choir is comprised entirely of Parkinson’s patients, and many within the group credit it for lessening symptoms of the neurological disease such as a diminished ability to move and a weakened voice.
Michael Rawson, who’s been a choir member for about 4 months, says, “We all get in this room and sing our hearts out, laugh and joke and really enjoy ourselves… and in the end, my voice is much stronger, much healthier.”
Others say being in the group has made them feel less withdrawn, boosted their confidence, and helped them make new friends, with one adding, “It’s nice to have something to be happy about.”
Additional choirs have been formed in other areas for people afflicted by conditions such as Alzheimer’s, lung disease, and cancer, with many participants reporting increased self-esteem and less anxiety, depression and pain.
“We want to be able to get singing prescribed,” said Professor Grenville Hancox of the Canterbury Christ Church University. “If a [doctor] realizes that maybe [a] patient could benefit from coming together to sing with other people, then that’s a very, very easy way of starting to get into a cycle of improvement.”