I have written extensively on this web-site concerning this spectacular & moving 3 nights that is the Taurua Varua & felt that on this occasion another reflection, inspired by recent qualified ‘western’ research, was warranted.
In the many years during which I have lived amongst the Polynesians I have found these wonderful people to be a fun loving people with a relatively carefree way of living, attributes most generously expressed in the Taurua Varua & Heiva but indeed on most afternoons, & certainly week-ends, where the guitar, the ukulele & many voices are very much the order of the day.
This has led me inevitably to the following research (& I understand there is now considerable evidence to support the position that singing can also assist those with Parkinson’s).
THE PERCEIVED BENEFITS OF SINGING
Strengthens The Immune System (Ref: University of Frankfurt) – through increasing the amount Immunoglobulin A (proteins in the immune system that function as antibodies) whilst the increase was not observed after the same choir members passively listened to music.
Constitutes A Workout – utilising your lungs assists in strengthening the diaphragm and stimulates circulation potentially increasing aerobic capacity and stamina.
Improves Posture – correct singing technique can improve your posture overall.
Helps Sleep – through strengthening throat and palate muscles, thus helping to stop snoring and sleep apnea (Ref: Daily Mail Online).
Is A Natural Anti-Depressant – promoting the release endorphins & stimulating the sacculus, thereby creating an immediate sense of pleasure, regardless of the singing sounds whilst simply taking your mind off the day’s troubles.
Lowers Stress Levels – as music in any form is relaxing with singing releasing stored muscle tension and decreasing the level of the stress hormone, cortisol.
Improves Mental Alertness – promoting blood circulation which sees an oxygenated blood stream reaching the brain thereby improving mental alertness, concentration, and memory. The Alzheimer’s Society has even established a “Singing for the Brain” service to help people with dementia and Alzheimer’s maintain their memories. There is also now considerable evidence to support the position that singing can also assist those with Parkinsons).
Widens Your Circle Of Friends & Boosts Your Confidence Whilst Broadening Communication Skills (Ref: The Guardian – showing singing to babies helps prepare their brains for language whilst music is as important as learning to read and write at a young age to prevent language problems later).
How right they are in these observations. How true they are in their findings. Not only had Polynesians mastered the oceans using the stars for navigation some 2,000 years before the first westerners ventured across such seas, but on looking at their singing habits, there is clearly much more that they can teach us.