Vocals. They are our natural instrument with which we can interact with the world. Some of us do that in delightful ways, entertaining us with singing or acting, and others still inspire us with lectures and teachings about the world we live in. We all communicate with our voice, and the creative ones amongst us use their voice as their instrument.
But why is massage therapy important if you use your voice to earn your living or entertain people? Just as a dancer or athlete seeks out regular maintenance massage, a vocal artist should also consider this as a tool to keep them in tip-top condition. In technical terms, a vocalist is no different to an athlete – you both use muscles to perform. You both rely on those muscles to enable you to ‘play’ well, to enjoy yourself or put on a good performance. The only real difference is that there are different muscles involved. An athlete will have regular treatment with a view to avoiding injury and increasing their speed, strength and stamina. The same benefits can apply to vocalists.
Massage therapists use the manipulation of soft tissues in the body to reduce or remove pain, discomfort and muscle tension. Vocal massage is where the therapist focuses the treatment on muscles responsible for the production of the voice and breathing muscles. There are numerous muscles associated with breathing – we wrote about these in our article And Breathe!
By keeping the targeted muscles healthy, any imbalances, tension or tightness can be reduced and even eliminated. Relaxed muscles around the vocal cords should aid voice production and projection. Aside from the specific benefits of vocal massage a treatment will help you to reduce stress and improve alertness.
As with all of our treatments, they are tailored to match your needs. In vocal massage we focus on treating the muscles in the neck, shoulders, throat (including the larynx and around the hyoid bone), jaw, face, ribs, intercostals and diaphragm. The diaphragm and intercostal muscles are especially receptive to soft tissue therapy – helping you to increase lung capacity and breath more effectively.
We also look at the global picture, massaging the arms and back as areas of tightness there can translate to tension in the neck, producing headaches, pain in the jaw or ears. Fascial massage works on the jaw, around the lips and nose and work around the neck enables the larynx to be positioned more effectively, easing the vocal cords and giving you a greater vocal range.
Working around the throat, jaw and neck needs a sensitive touch and we always work slowly and within your comfort levels. Good communication between you and the therapist is vital and something we take very seriously. It can take a few treatments for you to get used to having these areas manipulated, but the benefits gained are worth it.