Singing changes breathing pattern and rate and depth. The brain carefully monitors ratios of 02/C02 in the blood and has many ways to tweak it; singing and physical activity are examples of this.
Singing is a form of enhanced exhaling and exhaling is how we prevent retention of endogenous carbon dioxide in the blood and tissues.
I am following the case of my friend Paula, who by the way, loves to sing loudly and forcefully, all the time. When not singing, she is always whistling. Whistling , it seems to us, is a form of pursed lip breathing.
What does pursed lip breathing do?
Pursed lip breathing
- Improves ventilation
- Releases trapped air in the lungs
- Keeps the airways open longer and decreases the work of breathing
- Prolongs exhalation to slow the breathing rate
- Improves breathing patterns by moving old air out of the lungs and allowing for new air to enter the lungs
- Relieves shortness of breath
- Causes general relaxation
To practice “pursed lip breathing you simply “Pucker or “purse” your lips as if you were going to whistle or gently flicker the flame of a candle.” Paula actually whistles instead of simply pursing her lips and exhaling for as long as possible.
Paula has a ventilatory defect/injury that she did not know of and may explain why singing and whistling is so beneficial to her.
Paula had an attack of major depression when she became menopausal. [ We do think that the hormonal changes of menopause hastened her attack [ because of her ventilatory issues ]
This blog discussing the findings we have discovered about this syndrome over the years, and we also try to give voice to her experience of her most serious attack, suffered 20 years ago.
Our findings are similar to what Dr Emile Kraepelin hypothesized in 1926.
We would like to help scientists to learn more about this syndrome and its physical signs, in order to hasten the search for better treatments for a full recovery.
I am Paula’s friend and colleague. We are not doctors, scientists or even particularly good writers. But we discuss this topic every morning over coffee. And Paula remembers well what happened when she was unwell.
We think that singing and whistling helps expel excess C02 naturally produced by cell metabolism.