A number of months ago I became aware of studies in regards to humming that I found intriguing.
This information may be of benefit to some of you. It has been found that humming can significantly increase nitric oxide (NO) in the nasal passages. So the question is, what is good about that?
According to an article in the journal Medical Hypotheses 2006 NO is known to be broadly antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial.
NO is naturally released in the respiratory tract and humming has been found to increase its concentration in the nasal passages by 15 to 20 times.
One case is described in Medical Hypotheses of an individual who had chronic rhinosinusitis, which means both the nose and the sinuses were involved. In this case the person hummed 60-120 times four times a day and in four days the symptoms were largely gone.
As an added benefit the irregular heartbeat of premature atrial contractions was greatly lessened.
The earliest article I found in the medical literature was from the well-known, by medical practitioners, Karolinska Hospital in Sweden and was printed in 2002 in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Medicine. Ten healthy subjects were tested and showed the 15-fold increase in NO.
Four authors from the Department of Medicine at the University of Washington reported in the European Journal of Clinical Investigation that 10 healthy persons without disease of the nose or sinuses produced significant NO although not in as great amount as two other journals reported.
Yet another article from the University of Dundee in Scotland reported in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology 2010 describes the results in 12 patients with chronic rhinosinusitis and nasal polyps.
They were trying to determine if two weeks of oral steroids would increase the nasal NO and improve the symptoms. It did. They also found improvements in polyps and quality of life.
Dr. Don Casebolt of College Place is a retired physician who is passionate about preventive medicine. He spent four years as a medical officer in the U.S. Navy, the last 21/2 years as a flight surgeon. He also worked on the Navajo Reservation for 22 years.