In October2021, Scottish Opera (SO) launched a new project named Breath Cycle that’s aimed at benefiting those suffering from a range of conditions affecting lung health, in particular Long Covid.
Following its success in its first term, with participants reporting improvement in a range of areas, such as anxiety, loneliness and confidence in addition to benefits to their physical health, a new block of sessions for Breath Cycle will start online on January 26th 2022.
During a series of relaxed and sociable weekly sessions, a team of musicians from the Company will work with participants introducing them to stimulating songs, vocal exercises and breathing techniques. The benefits of singing regularly are widely recognised, from improved lung function, posture and circulation to a strengthened immune system and core, better breath control, as well as relief from stress and anxiety. Breath Cycle is made with support from key NHS consultants and physiotherapists and the third block will be in April.
In addition to the singing sessions, anyone interested in taking part in new online song writing workshops led by former Scottish Opera composer-in-residence Gareth Williams and performance poet Martin O’Connor can sign up. The songs that come out of these workshops, alongside those created by Gareth and Martin themselves, will be arranged and recorded by SO to create a free digital resource for individuals, choirs and singing groups worldwide, called The Covid Composers Songbook, as a positive musical legacy. Previous experience not required.
Respiratory Consultant at the Department of Respiratory Medicine of Queen Elizabeth University Hospital Gordon MacGregor said, “Breath Cycle has been a fantastic project which was first launched in 2013 for people with Cystic Fibrosis. These new sessions provide a platform to work with patients with a range of lung conditions which allows them to exercise their lungs while having fun. This is absolutely key as it keeps them engaged and active in their lung health programme – it’s easy to take part and it’s rewarding.
“We know how important lung health is to our overall wellbeing, and particularly now, where we’re seeing new patients who may be suffering from breathing issues related to Long Covid, so any treatment which can help address that and offers patients a treatment plan they can stick to, is a positive step.”
The Breath Cycle project was originally created by SO and Glasgow’s Gartnavel General Hospital Cystic Fibrosis Service to explore whether learning classical singing techniques, including breath control, could improve the wellbeing of cystic fibrosis patients. Due to the high risk of infection for those with cystic fibrosis, the project also explored how patients might interact safely with each other, using the internet as a means of meeting, learning and building new communities. The materials were created as part of a study into how singing techniques, including breathing exercises could replicate the effects of conventional physiotherapy to increase lung function.
Anyone interested in signing up for Breath Cycle should contact