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Clinical Information 

Information for Members

Most long term respiratory conditions result in significant changes to the structure and, consequently, the efficientfunctioning of the lungs. The picture below shows these changes.


  • Size and shape may change

  • The lungs often become less elastic leading to difficultybreathing out

  • This will often lead to shallow breathing which is less efficient and leads to breathlessness on even theslightest exertion.

  • High breathing – that is breathing with the help of the neck and shoulder muscles – can give rise to feelings ofpanic and increased breathlessness.

Hyperinflated Lung .png

We all have a reservoir of air in our lungs after we breathe out fully. People with long term lung disease, because of the loss of elasticity in the lungs, will often have a larger reservoir of air left than someone with normal lungs. This means that there is less space for air next time they take a breath in and so they become increasingly breathless. 

Obstructive Lung Disease.png

The diagram above demonstrates air trapping, as experienced by some people with long term respiratory disease. Some of the exercises and songs we do in the Cheyne Gang help to extend the out breath and release more of the trapped reservoir of air.

Why Does Singing Help With Breathing?

At the Cheyne Gang you will learn to use your abdominal (core) muscles for breathing.

This is your body’s natural way of breathing when you are asleep. Watch a baby breathing and you will see the gentlerise and fall of the tummy.

When we sing we use our core muscles.


We start with gentle, safe movements to warm our bodies up. Whole body warm ups help with

♪ gently raising the heart rate

♪ Increased mobility

♪ Releasing tension

♪ Improved oxygen provision to the muscles



♪ Head, neck and shoulder muscles often hold tension because of shallow breathing

♪ Gentle stretches release head, neck and shoulder tension and help us prepare for singing!

When taking part in these warm ups please always work at your own pace and level of comfort.



We use different exercises for reasons and to achieve different results

♪ Locating the core/abdominal muscles – feeling the sensation of the tummy muscles working

♪ For example – say “shhhh” whilst pulling your tummy button towards your spine. At the end of the breathrelease the tummy muscles and you’ll feel them relax….

♪ Extending the out breath – this lowers your heart rate, reduces stress and improves the oxygen flow around the body

♪ For example – breathe in for the count of three and out for the count of five. Repeat this until you feelmore in control of your breathing.


♪ Singing is a fun way of engaging your core muscles for breathing without really realising you’re doing it!

♪ Singing improves your mood and memory

♪ Singing with other people is a sociable activitythat results in new and lasting friendships


♪ We explore our voices making different, ofteninteresting and sometimes nonsense sounds.These are designed to warm up our voicesand use our core muscles.


‘The singing exercises I perform during my fortnightly session at the Cheyne Gang have not only eased my breathing difficulties, I have also found them so easy to do at home.’


‘Breathing better for rest of the day. I love the social side.’

‘Breathing has improved tenfold which brings with it becoming physically fitter.’

Contact details:

Anne Ritchie - or 07769 322 583

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