Online recovery programme can improve symptoms of long-COVID

A summary of research published in The Lancet

An online programme focused on breathing and wellbeing can improve mental health and the symptoms of breathlessness following COVID-19, according to a new study.


What did the study look at?

The research, published in the Lancet, involved 150 people from the UK with ongoing breathlessness after COVID-19 infection. People were randomly assigned to one of two groups – one group received usual care for long-COVID and the other took part in a music-based therapy programme called the English National Opera (ENO) Breathe programme.

Researchers monitored quality of life during the trial, which included looking at mental and physical symptoms, alongside reported levels of breathlessness.

What do the results show?

Results found that people on the ENO Breathe programme were more likely to see an improvement in their mental health compared to the people receiving usual care. People in this group were also more likely to report improved breathlessness during running. There was no difference seen in physical symptoms reported between both groups.

Why is this important?

As long-COVID is a new condition, there is a lack of evidence to support different treatments. This type of study is a randomised controlled trial, which compares a new kind of treatment to existing care. This helps to show what kind of interventions could bring bigger benefits for people.

The study suggests that this online programme was safe and had some benefits for mental health and elements of breathlessness. The authors concluded that mind-body interventions, such as this programme, could have a potential role as an additional therapy for long-COVID management.

Further reading

Read the original research paper:

Title: An online breathing and wellbeing programme (ENO Breathe) for people with persistent symptoms following COVID-19: a parallel-group, single-blind, randomised controlled trial