Singers are not the only high level voice users, think of actors, teachers, radio announcers and Call Centre workers. I have friends who need to talk all through their work day and after sing in a choir 2-3 times per week. Your voice is highly effective at working long hours under extreme pressure. Until it feels tired, tight, rough and sore.
Stretching the limits of your voice and having any of these symptoms is a marker that your body is telling you to back off a bit. If the machine is starting to sound a bit rough it’s letting you know that pushing past this point may lead to something a little more serious. When your working in an environment where your voice is uncomfortable it can lead to stress, job dissatisfaction and a decrease in work attendance.
But these researchers have looked at a super way of giving your tired voice a shot of pep and help alleviate that tired and tight feeling you have in your throat from over use.
After subjecting their subjects to 95 minutes of karaoke singing, they recorded how they felt. They all felt their voice was tired, tight and sore…and maybe a few ears where too. Then they gave the subjects either a whole body muscle relaxing vibration for 10 minutes or a localised muscle vibration on the throat to see how muscle vibrations could elevate the tiredness you feel and possible keep going. As a control to prove their point, one poor group had to hold a modified electric toothbrush in their hands for 10 minutes.
The whizzing toothbrush had no effect, but the whole body vibration and the localised vibration had a positive effect on it’s subjects. It alleviated tiredness and tightness.
Vibration treatments have been used by physiotherapy and sports science for a while now, there’s nothing new here, but, now there’s a growing amount of voice research that corresponds with sports research; that direct and indirect vibrations to large and smaller muscles will help relax the muscles we use for singing which will then decrease vocal effort, tightness and tiredness.
There’s more to know here, about the intensity of vibrations and for how long you need to vibrate. There’s also much more we need to look at regarding why your voice is feeling tight and tired, is it just the amount of singing or is it how your singing. They are two very different things.
But, if you need a quick vocal pep, it looks like jumping on a vibrating platform is one way of relaxing all over.
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Vibrational Therapies for Vocal Fatigue. Edwin M.L. Yiu, Candy V.P. Chan. Elizabeth Barrett and Dan Lu. Pokfulam, Hong Kong, and Chengdu, China