The Voice

Timo Massage Therapy - Blog

Based in the heart of theatreland, in Covent Garden London, many of my clients are dancers, singers and actors who often perform to gruelling timetables in some of the most prestigious venues in the world. It is therefore essential that their bodies and voices are in peak condition at every performance. As well as using deep tissue massage, sports massage and massage specifically for dancers to ensure their body is at its physical best, I can also offer voice massage therapy. I am the only trained Voice Massage Therapist in the country, able to provide this unique treatment.

How does the voice work?

The human voice box is known as the larynx, which is located above the windpipe (trachea). If you place your hand on your throat and hum or speak you can feel the larynx vibrating. The vocal cords, or vocal folds which is the more scientific term, are muscles which are inside the larynx. Air leaves the lungs, through the trachea and into the larynx and it is the air which makes the vocal folds vibrate. Put simply, these vibrations are the beginnings of sound waves which are enhanced by the pharynx (above the larynx) and leaves the mouth sounding like a voice. The pitch and volume of the voice are also manipulated in the larynx although the strength of the expiration of air from the lungs also contributes to the loudness of the voice. Controlling the vocal folds and changing the pitch of the voice is something that is learned as a young child. The noise is made by the larynx as described and combined with the shape of the mouth, gives each of us a unique sounding voice. The way each person moves their mouth, tongue, cheeks, lips and even teeth, will change how noises from the larynx will sound.

Some common problems

One of the most common problems of the voice is acute laryngitis ie, a sore throat. This can be caused by a viral illness or vocal abuse from screaming, yelling or over use of the voice. Steam inhalation, voice rest and plenty of hydration can reduce the swelling and people usually make a good recovery. When the voice is irritated for longer, the vocal folds can develop nodules which are small bumps (polyps) which are essentially swollen tissue that covers a broader surface area of the vocal fold.

One of the most common problems of the voice is acute laryngitis ie, a sore throat. This can be caused by a viral illness or vocal abuse from screaming, yelling or over use of the voice. Steam inhalation, voice rest and plenty of hydration can reduce the swelling and people usually make a good recovery. When the voice is irritated for longer, the vocal folds can develop nodules which are small bumps (polyps) which are essentially swollen tissue that covers a broader surface area of the vocal fold.

Voice massage therapy can also help relieve tension in the jaw, lips and palate which improves the tonal production of the voice.

Good voice hygiene is also essential for professional voice users, the physical demands of singing, lecturing or acting necessitate optimal overall health including aerobic exercise, enough rest, a healthy nutritional diet with no alcohol (or moderate amounts) and absolutely no smoking! Performers who travel a lot are confronted with the challenges of air travel, changes in eating and sleeping patterns and performing in sometimes dry, dusty halls.

Talk to me!

It is imperative that people who use their voice for a living are vigilant about protecting their instrument - regular voice massage therapy can really benefit the quality of the voice and clients sometimes only need 1-5 treatments to see a significant improvement. By treating all the muscles involved in producing the voice, from the chest, abdomen, back, the neck, face and head, as well as incorporating breathing and stretching exercises - much tension is released immediately improving the overall pitch, sound and tone of the voice.

Please do contact me for further details and I look forward to working with you in the future at a pace specifically designed for your needs.

Have a great week!

Timo

Timo Massage Therapy
Tuesday, 2 July 2013