Infotainment

Playing the didgeridoo is good for your health!

Jan 7 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 1/7/2020 12:54:22 PM IST

 Didgeridoo lessons, choir singing and calligraphy can each benefit health, according to a major review.

For the first time, the World Health Organisation (WHO) looked at the ways in which the arts can prevent and treat illness.

Among those which showed ‘a robust impact of the arts’ on health’ included dance for PTSD to relive tension in muscles and group-knitting to encourage socialising in dementia patients. 

Some art interventions, the WHO claimed, show comparable or stronger effects than medication or exercise.  The WHO’s European branch looked at 900 publications, including reviews covering 3,000 further studies, in English and Russian from January 2000 to May 2019.  The studies covered mental and physical illness, including diseases like cancer and diabetes, and neurological disorders such as cerebral palsy and stroke.

The arts were divided into five categories: performing arts, visual arts, literature, culture, and online arts.   

One highlighted study showed didgeridoo lessons for asthmatic Australian children improved respiratory function in males.

The review said the lessons also helped improve adherence to asthma management plans and their condition as a whole.

Similarly, singing has a number of similarities to breathing techniques used to treat respiratory diseases by clearing airways, the report said. It can also improve exercise capacity in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Meeting for choir singing can provide distraction for addicts, reduce depression and provide social opportunities for dementia patients.  A month of calligraphy training was shown to reduce stress in children who survived the 2008 China earthquakes. It also lessened hyperarousal, a side effect of PTSD which causes angry outbursts, panic attacks or anxiety.  

(Vanessa Chalmers for Mailonline)

 

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