Physio for Your Voice
Voice Physio? Say what? Yes, Voice Physio, physio for your voice. If you haven’t heard of this before, don’t worry, most of my physio colleagues haven’t either! I myself only became aware of it shortly after I’ve started singing lessons myself. You know how we don’t see things unless they are relevant? A few months after I started singing lessons, I spotted in my In Motion magazine (a publication the Australian Physiotherapy Association sends out to its members) an ad for courses called Vocal Unloading – Module 1: Foundations of Voice and Module 2: The Challenging Larynx. After a massive “Say what?” myself I jumped at the first chance to fly to Melbourne to train with Australia’s leading vocal physiotherapist, Annie Strauch.
Why would you need physio for your voice? Well, because your voice is a musculoskeletal instrument and just like other parts of your body, it’s affected by things like overuse, inefficiency, strength deficits… etc. Your voice box itself, the larynx, is made up of two pieces of cartilage, the thyroid and cricoid cartilages. There is a joint between these cartilages, the cricothyroid joint. There’re ligaments and muscles around these cartilages, not to mention your vocal folds themselves are soft tissue. These are just within your larynx itself! To use your voice, whether to speak or to sing, you need breath, which brings in your diaphragm, ribs, thoracic spine, abdominals, pelvic floor, hip flexors…etc. You also need to articulate and that brings in your jaw, tongue, and mouth which all sits on top of your neck, which of course is connected to your thoracic spine. So yes, your voice is one incredible musculoskeletal instrument in the centre of your body running from your head all the way down to your legs. Cool huh!
Strong Body, Strong Voice
So now that you know your voice is essentially your body’s built-in muscular bagpipe, it makes sense that by strengthening your body, it can help support your voice. On a personal level, I’ve found this information very helpful as I develop as a singer. On a professional level, working with people recovering from overuse voice injuries, I’ve come to realise that the general public has very little understanding about this voice-body connection, in fact, the general public has little appreciation for movement altogether!
Movement is an essential part of healthy living. In particular, strengthening your body has been shown to help you live better and live longer. Now you can add “helping you use your voice better” to its awesomeness. I’ve started Voice Physio so I can share my knowledge and expertise about this voice-body connection, how you can best take advantage of it so that you can Be Free In Your Voice. I’m here to serve you so please don’t hesitate to send in questions and topics you’re keen to know more about, and I’ll do my best to blog on them for you.
’Til next time, Be Free In Your Voice™.
This information is not medical advice. Got health concerns? Consult a real-life health professional.
Views are my own.