From THE LOCAL (Sweden):

Singing is a popular pursuit in the Nordic countries and while it is often associated with alcohol consumption it can also have positive health effects - such as easing irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Swedish research suggests.

Singing has been found to stimulate elevated oxytocin concentration in serum, and the study hoped to shed light on whether choir singing can aid anabolic regeneration, measured from saliva testosterone, and ease the symptoms of IBS, whose sufferers typically register low levels of oxytocin.

The researchers - Töres Theorell, Christina Grape, Britt-Maj Wikström, Rolf Ekmand and Dan Hasson - have published their findings in an article in the medical journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, and have found that regular choir singing can increase levels of saliva testosterone and thus have an anabolic regenerative effect thus reducing stress.

"It is documented that starting activities can help to accelerate the body's process to regenerate cells, which is fundamental to the health. What we have found it that choir groups show a clearly heightened regeneration in comparison to other activities," said Professor Töres Theorell at the Stress Research Institute at Stockholm University.

COMMENT: This is good news for choristers but hardly good news for the rest of us. It is a well known fact that an increase in such singing in churches often leads to a huge increase in the number of cases of irritating choir syndrome in the rest of the congregation, and especially among the clergy who risk high exposure to infection in the course of their duties.



  1. Oh, yes! Singing in a motley church choir definitely brought on a case of ICS (Irritating Choir Syndrome) in me! The choir was so small that I was sometimes asked to sing with the tenors, a lovely wee bunch of older men who couldn’t hold a tune if their lives depended on it. Worse, our rector was a musical expert who had contributed mightily to a 1970s major revision of the Anglican hymn book (if I recall correctly). He was a hymnnologist or something … You should have seen him wince during choir practice!