Long Covid sufferers taught breathing techniques by opera singers

Sing OPERA to beat coronavirus: Long Covid sufferers will be taught breathing techniques of top tenors to help them overcome symptoms in new NHS England therapy

  • Imperial College and English National Opera have teamed for programme 
  • Helps people who are still suffering from breathlessness and associated anxiety 
  • Long Covid sufferers take part in virtual sessions teaching singing techniques 

People suffering from long Covid will be taught breathing techniques by opera singers to help them recover from breathlessness and anxiety.  

Imperial College London and the English National Opera have joined forces for the programme developed specifically for people recovering from coronavirus, who are still suffering from breathlessness and associated anxiety.

The project, ENO Breathe, sees a mentor deliver virtual workshops, teaching patients the breathing techniques used by top opera singers.

Participants also sing lullabies during the sessions, which are ‘selected for their power to calm and soothe.’ 

Participants have an initial one-to-one online conversation with a member of the ENO Breathe team, followed by six weekly group online workshop sessions, led by a vocal specialist. 

The exercises and activities are designed to support breathing control, providing tools for self-management of breath and anxiety. 

ENO Breathe has been specifically developed for people recovering from COVID-19, who are still suffering from breathlessness and its associated anxiety.

The free programme is open to all ethnicities and levels of spoken English, with no prior experience or interest in singing required to take part.

Lullabies from operas are performed by ENO singers and players, selected and recorded for participants to watch and listen to. 

On its website, the ENO Breath states: ‘Lullabies will be used as a way into exercises throughout the six weeks on the programme. 

‘Lullabies are expressly designed to calm and soothe, and have the benefit of being short, memorable and accessible to all.

The project, ENO Breathe, sees a mentor deliver virtual workshops, teaching patients the breathing techniques used by top opera singers

‘The aim of ENO Breathe is to empower patients in the management of breathlessness and anxiety post COVID-19 infection, by equipping them with the tools they need for self-management. 

‘Singing lullabies builds emotional connections with the other activities and exercises on the programme. 

‘Participants leave sessions with a calming song in their hearts – and crucially – this creates a positive emotional connection to a wealth of tools and exercises to help manage their symptoms, making these exercises more memorable, more meaningful and more usable.’

During the online weekly one hour sessions, the group do warm-up exercises to prepare the body and mind. 

They then ‘use practical tools to support improvement in posture and breath control, encouraging self-management of anxiety and breathlessness.’ 

After the programme, participants have access to digital resources, designed to support them to continue the exercises on their own.

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