The hot water is flowing. The acoustics are just right. You’re belting out the tunes, feeling like a Grammy-winning artist. And most of all, you’re feeling good. Really good.
Singing in the shower is a very ‘human’ phenomenon. Most of us have had a moment (or a few) of singing our hearts out in the bathroom and loving every minute of it. There’s even a Spotify playlist for it…with 6m+ followers! But what is it about singing in the shower that we love so much? And can you actually use singing as therapy?
We followed our curiosity and did some research of our own. Keep reading to see what the science says about the benefits of singing.
When You Sing in the Shower, Your Body Loves It
Our bodies are incredible organisms that are always at work in the background. And sometimes, it’s so subtle that we don’t have a clue what’s happening in the moment. Luckily, scientists have taken the matter into their own hands and studied the effects of singing on the body. Their findings reveal the benefits of singing in the shower and why it feels so good:
Fewer Stress Hormones
Adrenaline and cortisol are hormones that get triggered when you’re mega stressed. In excess, they can wear down your immune system and cause serious illnesses in your body. Luckily, singing is known to decrease these ‘stress hormones.’
More ‘Feeling Happy’ Hormones
If you’re not familiar with it, dopamine is the hormone responsible for all of those good feels. And when you’re singing, it increases, giving you an influx of pure joy. Think of it like a healthier, more sustained version of a sugar rush.
Increased Lung and Heart Function
The practice of breathwork, or Pranayama, has long been known for its positive effects on the body. Turns out, because of the deep breathing involved, singing has similar effects.
When you’re singing long phrases, you have to take deeper breaths and let it out more slowly, increasing oxygen flow to the whole body. It also helps to increase antioxidants in the blood (to combat aging and diseases) and reduces overall stress.
Choir singing has been scientifically proven to increase Immunoglobulin A (IgA) levels. IgA helps your body fight illnesses and infections by giving an encouraging boost to your immune system.
Singing as Therapy: More Benefits of Singing in the Shower
The positive effects of singing go beyond the physical body to also boost your mental and spiritual state. Here’s a rundown on why you can use singing as therapy:
Getting Lost in the Music
Singing brings you to the here and now and puts you in a flow state. A flow state happens when unrelated emotions and thoughts fall away, and you’re completely in the present moment. Ultimately, it helps you with more motivation, creativity, and an overall feeling of well-being.
A Big Mood Boost
If you listen to positive music for more than 5 minutes a day, it can improve your mood. And even more effective than that? Engaging in music by singing or playing instruments.
The science shows that when you’re stuck on a problem, singing can help. Letting your brain relax into another activity – one that activates a different area of the brain – can release that infamous ‘aha!’ moment or creative spark.
Is There a Such Thing as Therapeutic Singing?
Music therapy (including composing, therapeutic singing, moving to music, and playing instruments), is becoming a popular way to improve mental health. Singing as therapy has nothing to do with your vocals, experience, or natural talent. Instead, you work with a certified music therapist to use music as a healthy outlet of self-expression.
Therapeutic singing has been shown to aid with recovery from trauma, grief, and mental illnesses. It can even help improve speaking abilities of those with neurological disorders like autism, Parkinson's disease, aphasia, or stuttering. Side note: Singing as therapy doesn’t work if you’re giving a performance that gives you the jitters.
In fact, high-stress singing in front of a large audience has shown to increase levels of perceived stress. So keeping a low-stress environment is the key to therapeutic singing. If you want the benefits of therapeutic singing without investing in a certified music therapist, start with some YouTube tutorials. Or even better: a daily dose of shower singing.
Our Verdict: Use Shower Singing as Therapy for More Happiness
Singing in the shower combines the health benefits of breathwork and hydrotherapy for great results. It’s an accessible substitute to therapeutic singing, so you can experience a daily mood boost all on your own. If you’re still not sold, check out this study that surveyed two groups: one group of participants sang in the shower for a week, while the other group did not.
Those who sang in the shower reported benefits of singing including finding life more rewarding, feeling happier, and more energized. And more than anything else, they felt more mentally alert. And in another related study on singing as therapy, choir singing was shown to increase salivary oxytocin, and give rise to positive emotional states. So our verdict?
Sing those show tunes from your very own soap(y) box! There are way too many benefits of singing that you don’t want to miss.
Use the Reflect Orb to Measure the Benefits of Singing
Our home-based biofeedback device, Reflect, can monitor levels of stress and anxiety in your body. So if you’re trying out a new practice – *ahem* like singing as therapy – it can give you a snapshot of whether it’s actually working to bring those stress levels down. And if it’s not? It’ll help you find a practice that does! And don’t forget: the Reflect Orb doesn't like water, so be sure to keep it out of the shower.
Get to know your body with Reflect.