A CNN article reports that a group of singers in London have formed a group called Sing for Joy. It's a community choir for people with Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis and others recovering from conditions including stroke or cancer. Many of their friends and caregivers are also members of the choir. What they have in common is an illness or that they care for someone with an illness. They believe that singing with others makes them feel better.
Doctor Wendy Magee, International Fellow in Music Therapy at London's Institute of Neuropalliative Rehabilitation, describes music as a "mega-vitamin for the brain," capable of influencing and improving motor function, communication and even cognition. "When neural pathways are damaged for one particular function such as language, musical neural pathways are actually much more complex and much more widespread within the brain," Magee told CNN. "Music seems to find re-routed paths and that is why it is such a useful tool in terms of helping people with different kinds of brain damage because it can help to find new pathways in terms of brain functioning."
It's not surprising that researchers have documented the health benefits of singing songs of joy. In the Bible, there are countless exhortations for us to sing out songs to God.
"Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth." Psalm 96:1
"Sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him." Psalm 98:1
"Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs." Psalm 100:2
"Shout for joy, O heavens; rejoice, O earth; burst into song, O mountains! For the LORD comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones." Isaiah 49:13
"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God." Colossians 3:16
God knows the impact that singing songs of joy has on our health. If you're suffering from a health issue, lift up a song to God, thanking Him for who He is and what He's done in your life. Sing out to him in praise. He wants your praises regardless of how you're feeling.
Songs of praise to God glorify Him most importantly. A secondary affect may be that they have a positive impact on your health.
Dale Fletcher is the founder of Faith and Health Connection. A speaker and wellness coach who lives in Charlotte, NC, Dale conducts workshops and retreats on personal wellness/wholeness and the link between faith and health. He is a member of the Christian Medical Association, the Society for Spirituality, Theology & Health and the Christian Coaches Network. Connect with Dale at Faith and Health Connection.