Micah Raskin Discusses the Therapeutic Benefits of Singing

Micah Raskin
5 min readMar 2, 2021


Micah Raskin On the Therapeutic Benefits of Singing

Whether or not we can stick to the beat or carry the tune, people love singing. We sing in congregations, in schools, in marches, at home while we cook and clean, and shower while we drive — something in us recognizes that music is a positive force. In fact, science has found that singing has a positive impact on both your physical and mental health.

Micah Raskin, the lead singer for Backstreet Betty, has been giving voice lessons to anyone in his community who wants to learn for this very reason. Singing isn’t just fun, Micah Raskin tells us. It’s therapeutic. It’s an outlet that benefits you and the people around you. Let’s find out how.
Singing Relieves Stress Says, Micah Raskin
Several studies have concluded that singing is an excellent source of stress relief. One study from 2017 measured the benefits of singing on the stress response by measuring cortisol levels in the participants’ bodies. Cortisol is a hormone released when you become stressed.

Scientists measured cortisol levels in their saliva before and after singing, and they found that cortisol levels were significantly lower after singing. This indicates that people were more relaxed and less stressed out after singing a song.

These findings were true for people who sang alone and for people singing in groups. So if you have stage fright, says Micah Raskin, don’t worry! Singing Karaoke can be just as impactful in lowering your stress levels.

The only catch to these findings is that you have to be comfortable with your surroundings. If you’re singing in a situation that makes you anxious — on stage, in front of an audience, or around strangers — your cortisol levels will likely balance out, leaving you equally (if not more) stressed as before. But singing in the kitchen, singing in the shower, singing in the car — they can all help you manage your stress and live a little longer!
Singing Improves Lung Function Says Micah Raskin
Several studies have found that singing, and the breathing techniques associated with singing, can have a positive impact on overall lung health, especially for people with lung conditions such as:

Cystic fibrosis
Multiple sclerosis
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD)

Singing cannot cure or treat any of these lung problems, but it can strengthen your respiratory muscles, which can lessen their symptoms a little. Several studies on singing have found that the activity increases the amount of oxygen in your blood, which is an excellent benefit for those suffering from oxygen-deprivation caused by lung disease.
Singing Stimulates the Immune Response Explains Micah Raskin
In addition to directly affecting the health and function of your lungs, there is some scientific evidence to support the idea that singing can also boost your immune system. Your immune system is what helps you fight off illnesses, so the stronger the better!

And this is not simply a musical phenomenon, says Micah Raskin. While listening to music certainly lowers the blood pressure and can help with cognitive function like memory recall, it’s singing that has the most positive impact on your body. In a study completed in 2004, scientists compared markers in the immune system for subjects listening to music quietly and then singing along to the music.

The subjects who sang along to the music had significantly higher levels of immunoglobulin A in their blood. Immunoglobulin A is an antibody that your body secretes to help you fight off infection. While listening to music lowers stress hormones, it didn’t cause any changes in the immune system.
Singing Increases Your Threshold for Pain Says, Micah Raskin
Now, this may sound like a strange benefit, but it can be a huge help for people who suffer from conditions that cause chronic pain. When you sing in a group of people — no matter the number — the social activity releases endorphins in your body. Endorphins promote positive feelings, dampen depression, and change the way your body interprets pain.

Endorphins allow your body to receive pain without feeling it as pain. This is also true for other endorphin-rich activities besides singing. Runners, for instance, often speak of a “runners high” that helps them push through the pain of the last few miles. This is the release of endorphins that comes from extreme exercise.

Singing, drumming, dancing — all were found to trigger endorphin release and raise your tolerance for pain. Listening to music doesn’t have the same effect. However, the scientists who worked on this study noted that the largest release of endorphins seemed to be triggered by singing with a group. In other words, it was the social connection and not the music itself that increased pain tolerance.

Singing Enhances Your Memory Explains Micah Raskin
There have been many studies that show how music can help improve and stimulate memory in those with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Because our minds are so tuned to music, we are better able to remember song lyrics than any other form of the written or spoken word. This is why children’s stories and lessons are often set to music — it’s so much easier to remember!

In several studies, singers with dementia were able to recall more than just the words to the songs, says Micah Raskin. For some of the participants, songs tied to specific times in their lives brought back memories of their past as well.

Another study found that when people with Alzheimer’s or dementia sang songs they learned at a young age, they would often experience spontaneous memories and details about their former lives. Songs learned at different times in their lives brought back different memories.
Singing Can Help You Deal With Grief Says Micah Raskin
Just like singing can help you deal with physical pain, it can also help heal emotional pain, says Micah Raskin. In 2019 a study was conducted on the subject of grief — how people deal with it, what helps lessen the pain, etc.

Researchers in this study found that for people who sang in a choir, depression symptoms commonly associated with grief did not worsen over time and their general sense of wellbeing was constant. In fact, those who sang in a choir saw a gradual improvement in self-esteem. This increase in positive self-reflection continued even after the conclusion of the 12-week study.

Singing helped with grief in two ways. It provided an emotional outlet through creative expression and it brought them a feeling of community and solidarity. And that, says Micah Raskin, is what music is all about.




Micah Raskin

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