“Vocal music promotes health. It accomplishes this object, directly, by the exercise which it gives the lungs and other vital organs; and, indirectly, by the cheerfulness and genial flow of spirits which it is the especial prerogative of music to bestow.”
GF Root - The Musical herald, 1884
Written in 1884, Root refers to the healing power of the voice – in this case both physically and emotionally. Fast forward almost 135 years and we now know more than ever before about the healing potential of the human voice.
Sound and voice therapy are in the midst of a boom – there is now so much interest as to how people can transform their lives with sound. Many people want to start working with therapeutic sound and what better way to start than with the voice – it is something that we use every day and one of the most powerful sound therapy instruments we have. So why is the voice is so powerful and how can you use your voice for improving health and wellbeing?
The Voice For Emotional Health & Processing
We communicate a wide range of emotions through our voices so what better way to help us to release held or stuck emotions using the voice. Studies have shown that people that swear or curse when they hurt themselves actually feel less pain, finding that ‘swearing increased pain tolerance and heart rate compared with not swearing’.
This suggests that the channelling of pain through the voice could improve pain perception and if this applies to physical pain, why not emotional pain too? I have worked with many people over the years that have experienced trauma, grief and emotional distress. I wanted to find a way to help people really explore and express this pain and so I developed the ‘Vocal Processing Techniques’ used in the Group Voice Therapy and Holistic Voice Therapy courses.
Let’s try one now…
The Voice For Physical Health
The voice massages your internal organs, exercises the lungs and oxygenates the bloodstream, invigorating and refreshing you and improving concentration. Research has shown that 20 minutes of vocalising reduces cortisol (a stress hormone) and improves wellbeing and this is just the tip of the iceberg as to what it can do. Our research has shown that physical pain can also be reduced by deep relaxation using the following technique.
Long, slow and low tones are going to relax you due to the way our brains have evolved to respond to sound. Spend a few minutes using long open vowel sounds such as AHH in a low pitch – something that’s comfortable for you to sing for a long period that you can sustain without needing to take a breath too often. Spend at least 5 minutes and then stop and notice how you feel.
Quick, high pitched fast tones and percussive sounds are going to energise you. Try weaving different types of nonsensical vocalisations from high pitched vowels to percussive consonants together in a ‘gibberish’ exercise for 5 minutes, then stop and feel the buzz!
A high pitched EEE vowel is great for mental stimulation. When you feel you need a quick pick me up or are about to go into an important meeting a few minutes of this is a ‘palpitation free’ pick-me-up I call sonic caffeine!
If you want to know more about using the voice therapeutically and to transform the lives of others we need more voice therapists than ever before. Please check out our voice therapy courses.
Professional Diploma in Group Voice Therapy
Professional Diploma in Group Voice Arts Therapy
Practitioner Level Diploma in Holistic Voice Therapy
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