Wellness with Welsh National Opera


Could breathing & singing coaching help people with ME?


WAMES has met with a representative from the Welsh National Orchestra to find out about their Wellness with WNO initiative.  They already offer a virtual singing and breathing programme to Health Boards for people with Long COVID, and are exploring how to include people with ME in those groups.

The 6 week programme was designed to support people experiencing feelings of breathlessness and anxiety with the aim of  improving breath control, lung function, circulation, and posture. A major benefit seems to be the ability to experience something fun and relaxing in an understanding environment.

April Heade, the WNO producer assured us they had no medical goals, and didn’t see the course as a treatment for Long COVID or ME/CFS, but she had observed that the social interaction, breathing exercises and a chance to sing simple songs appeared to release endorphins and bring a smile to people’s faces. There is also some evidence that singing has general health benefits and can affect blood flow and neuroplasticity of the brain but there is no attempt to use the sessions as medical tools.

Of course, any activity can trigger a PEM flare up or relapse, but April assured us that they understood that ill people needed to be flexible and might not always be able to join in with everything. The advantage of being online, is that on worse days people can monitor a session and join in when they can. A good voice is not necessary as everybody is muted (except the course presenters) and nobody will ever know you are not a professional singer!

This course will not suit everybody but some people may feel they are well enough or are managing their symptoms sufficiently well to make space for it in their weekly management plan.

April explains the content of the hour long sessions

WAMES would like to hear from you if you have tried this or a similar course, or would like to. Did you enjoy it? Did it help you? Would you recommend it? What advice or questions do you have?

Drop us a note (or a song) jan@wames.org.uk or use the contact form.

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