Do You Practice What You Preach?

Stephanie Thompson

Do you practice what you preach?  I had occasion the other day to really take that to heart. The Thompson family of which I’m a prominent member, has a history of trick backs.  I recently went to the doctor and described my back pain and where it was located and he was a really good doctor. He asked me a multitude of questions to rule everything else out and after he was through with his physical examination, he said, “Well, I think you have a back strain.  I’m going to order you a shot and give you two prescriptions.  One is for Ibuprofen and the other is for a muscle relaxant.”  

So, I got the shot and I must admit it did initially help a lot.  I took the Ibuprofen every eight hours for eight days.  I only took the muscle relaxant once because it made me drowsy.  After the eight days were up, you guessed it, my back pain was back.  I had no more of the Ibuprofen prescription and I could only take the muscle relaxant at night, so I took some Advil and suffered.  After a day of that, I had enough and thought to myself, I can’t live like this.

The next day, after a rough night and persistent back pain and nothing helping, I told myself, I can’t just wait this out, I have to do something.  And then a funny thing happened.  I started to think about all of the different resources I’ve read and talked about how music is healing, so I decided to practice what I preach.  As a professional singer, I practice every day, so I thought ok, I’m going to do an experiment.  I’m going to go into my studio and practice and sing and see what effect this has on the pain in my back.   So, I did exactly that.  For an hour, I warmed up my voice and walked around and practiced different songs.  And do you know what?  Those acts of singing and practicing reduced my pain considerably, to the point that I almost forgot I had any pain in the first place.  As I’m sitting and writing this article, my back pain has subsided to a dull roar and all I did was sing.   And it is definitely possible for anyone to have a similar experience. The beauty of it is that you don’t have to be a professional singer to reap the benefits of singing.   

Why did singing help my back?  Well, it’s actually a scientific fact that singing can have a positive impact on your health.  For one thing, as cited on, singing improves our overall mental health because it releases endorphins and it increases our mental alertness, by sending more oxygen to the brain, affecting our concentration and memory.   According to an article I read recently in healthline,*singing has a positive effect on stress because it can lower the cortisol levels in your body. I can attest to that because singing for me is a stress releaser.  I’ve noticed a difference between when I just listen to music and when I’m singing my heart out and actually they did a study where they observed a group of people who sang and the other group just listened to music. The group that listened to music was calmer, but the singing group had higher levels of Immunoglobulin A, which is an antibody that fights infection.  

There are other instances in my life, when I was going through hard times and singing was very cathartic for me.  Even if I would be part singing part crying, after I was done, I would feel better.  I was teaching one of my young students the other day and I stopped her at one point and said, “ How did you feel just now when you were singing that part?”  She looked at me and said, “Good.”  I told her, “Do you know when you sing like that from your heart, you create joy for me listening to it?”  She nodded her head no.  “Well, it’s true.” I told her. “It brings me happiness to hear you sing.”  That was a revelation to her.  So, the next time you’re feeling a bit blue or you’re having some pain, bust out a song or sing in the shower or do a little karaoke.  I think you might be amazed at the results. 10 Ways that Singing Benefits your Health  Medically reviewed by Debra Rose Wilson, Ph.D., MSN, R.N., IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT — Written by Rebecca Joy Stanborough, MFA on November 10, 2020

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Enjoy your Music.❤️