Yoik experiences and possible positive health outcomes: an explorative pilot study
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Original versionHämäläinen, S., Musial, F., Graff, O., Olsen, T., & Salamonsen, A. (2017). Yoik experiences and possible positive health outcomes: an explorative pilot study. International Journal of Circumpolar Health, 76(1): 1271590. 10.1080/22423982.2016.1271590
Background: Yoik is an old vocal music tradition of Sami, the indigenous people inhabiting Northern Fennoscandia and Kola peninsula in Russia. Studies of music therapy (MT) and especially singing have documented improvements in social and overall functioning in people with severe mental disorders and positive effect on depressive symptoms and sleep quality. Possible connections between yoik and health are so far underexplored. Objectives: The overall aim of this study was to explore whether yoik may have the potential to positively influence people’s health and well-being. The research questions were: 1. What are different persons’ experiences with yoik? 2. Can yoik experiences be related to health outcomes? Methods: Explorative, qualitative interviews with 13 participants were conducted in the Norwegian counties Finnmark, Troms, Nordland, and Trøndelag. Findings: The findings suggest qualities in yoik that are comparable to positive effects of Music Therapy (MT) in general. Yoik may contribute to emotion management, i.e. processing negative emotions and inducing positive ones in people acknowledging yoik as something positive. Conclusion: Yoik may be considered an important marker of social and cultural belonging for many Sami people. Yoik seems to have an underresearched potential as an intervention in culture sensitive healthcare and health promotion work that deserves to be further investigated.