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Non-Traditional Treatment Helps People Breathe Easier

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From VOA Learning English, this is the Health & Lifestyle report.

A Hungarian doctor is advising her lung disease patients to consider a non-traditional form of treatment: singing!

And not just singing while making dinner or washing up at night.

As part of their treatment, she wants her patients to sing in public as part of a choir!

The Reuters news agency reports that the "Breathing for the Soul" choir was formed earlier this year. The group recently performed in the ballroom of a hotel in Budapest.

The members of the choir come from hospitals all across Hungary. Many are sick with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, more commonly called COPD.

Speaking with Reuters, the choir members explained how singing has improved the quality of their lives.

Seventy-four-year old Maria Aranyi has been suffering with serious asthma, a breathing disorder, for over 10 years.

Aranyi said that she never thought in her life that she would ever sing. But now, singing in the choir provides relief from what she calls the "gray days." She added that after singing she noticed that she could also breathe more easily.

Chronic illness can lead to lonliness

Many lung disease patients and others with chronic disorders can become less involved with other people as they grow older. They may be unwilling to go to new places or to try new things. Over time if this continues, they can become more and more lonely.

Singing with others can be a way to break the cycle of loneliness. Whether it is a choir or any type of singing group, it is a way to make new friends and visit new places.

Singing with others is not easy. It takes a lot of practice and offers a challenge -- both physical and mental. But the result -- hearing your voice blend and harmonize with others -- can be truly uplifting.

And for most people, singing in a group is easier than singing alone. That can be a frightening experience even for the youngest and healthiest among us.

Singing in a group not only gives the lungs a good workout, it can give a sense of community. There is strength and a sense of well-being in numbers.

And that's the Health & Lifestyle report.

I'm Anna Matteo.

The Reuters news agency reported this story. Anna Matteo adapted the story for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

Words in This Story

choir n. an organized company of singers (as in a church service)

soul n. he body and in many religions is believed to live forever

ballroom n. a large room used for dances

relief n. the removal or reducing of something that is painful or unpleasant

chronic adj. continuing or occurring again and again for a long time

cycle n. a set of events or actions that happen again and again in the same order : a repeating series of events or actions

challenge n. a difficult task or problem : something that is hard to do

blendv. to exist together as a combination

harmonize v. to play or sing different musical notes that sound pleasing together

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