Voice Repair - Get Excited! We Have the Tools
Written by Diana Yampolsky
In this article, I would like to talk a little bit about how to deal with voice problems. As much as I wish it wasn't the case, most untrained singers put unnecessary strain on their vocal chords and will as a result damage their voices. This is especially true for rock 'n roll singers who often strain to hit high notes to cut through the sound of distorted guitars and heavy drums. I don't know how many times I've heard amateur singers say that their throat is sore for quite a few days after a practice. And the problem is actually worse for professional but untrained singers; they go on long tours and have to sing every night in a smoky environment. These are the singers that you hear about having to cancel tour dates because their voices are giving out and hurting to the degree that they simply cannot perform. It also concerns professional actors, who act 24-7 and have to use their voice nonstop. Very often they require the same services as professional singers because, after all, professional speaking requires the same technique as professional singing, and safety measures are a must!
The fact of the matter is that your voice should never feel sore the day after a performance or any time due to the act of singing or speaking. You should be able to sing or speak for at least 4-5 hours every day or night seven days a week and never feel even a slight discomfort in your throat. God forbid you have damaged your voice, but if that's the case, the first thing you need to be aware of is that in most instances your voice can be cured with special vocal exercises and specific herbal remedies. Only in the very most serious instances should surgery even be considered!
First of all, I recommend the use of natural herbs to counter the damage that has already been done to a singer's or speaker's vocal anatomy. There are herbs available that will strengthen and repair your entire vocal anatomy: larynx, vocal chords, vocal box etc. One of them will coat the voice and soften the vocal box tissues. Another is a herb that is widely used by many cultures around the world; it works to restore the voice AND helps an individual's emotional state, as it works on the adrenal glands which are responsible for the emotional state of a human being. This is a very important point. Most people assume that vocal problems are the result of straining the voice to the point of physical damage and they often are, but, vocal problems can also be related to emotions as well. As I mentioned in my first book, Vocal Science - Flight to the Universe, when I work with my students, quite a lot of my time is spent dealing with repressed emotions and hurts which inhibit the voice and prevent the singer from reaching their full potential. For this reason, I often offer my clients special herbal remedies which will help them put their emotions in balance and, thus, free their voices. I also recommend herbs that nurture the thyroid, which plays a major role in voice delivery. Furthermore, as I have said time and time again, your voice is your instrument. Therefore, I also often recommend herbs which boost and strengthen the immune system. Also, as I mentioned before, diet is very important to the recovery and general performance of your voice. For this reason, I suggest to my clientele that they try not eat any of the following types of food: spicy, sour, salty, acidic and consume as little dairy as possible.
The other main part of the vocal repair equation are special voice repair exercises. I usually start out with speech exercises. After the client has mastered them, we move on to low pitch singing exercises, which I have found to be very therapeutic and healing. Once the voice has been repaired the next step is to teach the singer correct vocal technique to prevent damage from reoccurring again in the future. After all, you would not get a tire patched up and then go park on the same broken glass that caused the hole in the first place would you? This always has the pleasant side effect of improving the quality of singing - and speaking - as well.
Total Voice Repair
Most people always assume that voice repair is only about removing nodes and fixing the vocal chords, but what I call 'Total Voice Repair' means repairing your entire anatomy. Essentially, many of the things that the modern world presents us with - fast food, pollution, lack of physical exercise - have a detrimental effect on our bodies and thus on our voices. For example, recently a client contacted me about my voice repair services. When I first met her three things were obvious to me - she had done serious damage to her vocal box, her body was extremely "polluted" and, at least in part, the latter was responsible for the former. When I talk about someone being "polluted" what I am saying is that their body is essentially full of garbage. The colon is full of waste. The sinus cavity is clogged with mucous. In the case of this person she was also extremely overweight. The result of all this "pollution" is that the person's immune system is weak and their energy level is low; which results in the vocal anatomy being even more susceptable to damage due to incorrect vocal technique. Therefore, in the case of this client, voice repair did not begin with her voice but with her body. A complete holistic body repair was required before we could even start on her voice. Again, the first thing I did was give her a lot of herbs, but not only the herbs related to the voice but also quite a few herbs that would cleanse her body of the toxins in her system. As I have mentioned in other chapters, great and safe singing is the result of an integration and synergy between a healthy overall body, a healthy vocal box and correct vocal technique.
In conclusion, I would like to express my hope that you would never require any voice repair and will learn to speak and sing correctly before even attempting to make it through that long, nasty tour.