Changing the conversation about health

English National Opera tells IPM Congress 2023 how singing techniques can help respiratory problems

The English National Opera (ENO) addressed the Integrative and Personalised Medicine Congress in London last month, offering a fascinating discussion on how research has found that singing techniques can help those with respiratory problems.

The four-strong panel included ENO Chairman Dr Harry Brunjes, Director of Strategy and engagement Jenny Mollica, Respiratory Registrar at Imperial College London, Harriet Owles and Ranja Pagnuco, Community and Creative Health Programme Manager at ENO Engage.

The 2023 congress welcomed nearly 2,000 healthcare professionals representing conventional, integrative, functional, lifestyle, environmental, complementary and holistic medicine, taking place at the QEII Centre in the heart of London in June.

ENO Chairman Dr Harry Brunjes, also the College of Medicine’s Vice President, addressing IPM congress 2023 at the QEII Centre in London in June

Dr Harry Brunjes, who is also the College of Medicine’s Vice President, explained how the ENO Breathe project began during the pandemic, when research suggested singing techniques associated with deep breathing could be helpful for people enduring respiratory problems caused by Covid-19.

Now delivered by the ENO in collaboration with Imperial College Healthcare teams, the programme partners with 86 NHS clinics across the country and has helped over 2,500 individuals.

During the height of the pandemic, the ENO released the results of a Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT) conducted during online sessions, which showed that effective interventions could be useful in supporting people with post-COVID syndrome, or long COVID.

The research was published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicinethe world’s top-ranking respiratory medicine journal, detailing how participants in the ENO Breathe sessions experienced a 10.48 point (out of 100) reduction in breathlessness when they were running, compared to those who hadn’t undergone the course.

The panel discussed the positive impact singing techniques can have on those with respiratory problems, detailing research carried out on participants with long Covid during the pandemic
The ENO Breathe programme was created by the English National Opera during lockdown (Picture credit: ENO)

Mental health also improved, with those taking the course saying they saw a 2.42 point improvement in the mental component of quality of life, as measured by a validated online questionnaire.

40 per cent of ENO Breathe participants experienced a five-point improvement in the mental component of quality of life, compared with 17 per cent in the usual care group.

At IPM Congress, the panel explained how research also showed that ENO Breathe participants involved in the clinical trial reported more general symptoms easing, saying the sessions using music and singing techniques suited their needs and that the programme complemented other care they were receiving.

To find out more about the ENO Breathe programme, please visit the ENO Breathe home page