For many singers with whom we work, there is a significant level of distress in the body and mind: Often there is a real lack of movement in the respiratory system system and little sensation or coordination among body, mind and heart. The result is the inability to discern the difference between pushing/shoving and limber vocal expression.
A sound vocal technique can compensate for some things, but technique can not solve major health and alignment misfunction. The body carries blocks created by our thought patterns, life experiences, and the fact that our culture champions predominantly left brain thinking which creates massive imbalances in our mental and emotional health.
However, the great news is that we have many more tools available to us today than ever before to help release and heal these habitual blocks.
The very first things that are in YOUR best interests are a healthy diet, exercise and hydration. A good nutritionist can help you establish sound eating habits and help you become aware of emotional eating.
Here is a list of Types of Bodywork and Exercise that singers all over the world use to increase health, vitality and vocal function.
(All this information comes from Jeanette Lovetri, of The Voice Workshop in New York City.)
Acupuncture has been a major part of primary healthcare in China for the last 5,000 years. It is used extensively for a variety of medical purposes rainging from the prevention and treatment of disease, to relieving pain and anesthetiszing patients for surgery. It is the practice of inserting very fine needles into the skin to stimulate specific anatomic points in the body for theraputic reasons. The points are stimulated to balance the movement of energy (Qi) in the body to restore health.
2. Alexander Technique
The Alexander Technique is the method developed by F.M. Alexander, an actor who lost his voice, in the early part of the 20th century. It works to change habits in the way our bodies move through everyday activities. It is a simple and practical method for improving movement, balance, support and coordination. The technique teaches appropiate amounts of effort for a particular activity and releases excess tension, thereby giving more energy for other activities. It’s goal is nothing less than the re-education of the mind and body.
Qigong (sometimes called Chi Kung or Chi Gung)
…is a unique Chinese exercise system. Through individual effort , practitioners build up their health and prevent illness by combining discipline of mind, body and the body’s “Chi” (vital force.) Breath awareness is a large part of the practice.
This practive focuses on the relationship between structure (primarily of the spine) and function (as coordinated by the nervous system) and how that relationship affects the preservation and restoration of health. It is also treatment by procedures or applications that are intended to releave pain or injury. Chiropractic is a health care discipline which emphasizes the inherant recuperative power of the body to heal itself without the use of drugs.
…was pioneered and developed by osteopathic physician John Upledger following extensive scientific studies from 1975-1983 at Michigan State U. It is a gentle, hands-on method of evaluating and enhancing the functioning of the physiological system called the craniosacral system–comprised of the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain a spinal cord. Migraines, chronic neck and back pain, autism, central nervous system disorders, TMJ and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder are just a few of the disorders that have responded well to this therapy.
This method was created by Moshe Feldenkreis, who was an engineer before he became a body worker. It is a self-discovery process using movement. It teaches efficient neuro-muscular patterning through an “organiz” learning style similar to that of early childhood. The movements are simple. gentle, pleasant, exploratory and fun. The goal is to gently reprogram the nervous system and facilitates overcoming problems arising from faulty initial learning, injuries, disease and other structural problems.
…is the systemized manipulation of soft tissues for the purposes of normalizing them. It improves functioning of the circulatory, lymphatic, musical, skeletal and nervous system and may improve the rate at which the body recovers from injury and illness. Therapists normally use their hands, but may also use their forearms, elbows or feet. Touch also conveys a sense of caring, an important part in the healing relationship. Massage comes in many forms, including Swedish, Pressure Point Therapy, Deep Tissue and Sports Massage.
A method of exercise and physical movement designed to stretch, strengthen and balance the body, created in the early part of the 20th century by Joseph Pilates. Practiced over time, it yields numerous health benefits such as increase lung capacity and circulation. Key components in an effective program are strength and flexibility, particularly of the abdomen and back muscles. Posture, balance and core strength are all also increased. Bone density and joint health improve, and many people report an increase in general body awareness. Pliates teaches balance and control of the body, which spills over into other areas of life.
Reiki practitioners channel energy in a particular pattern to heal and harmonize. Reiki seeks to restore order to the body when its vital energy has become unbalanced. Reiki energy has several basic effects: it brings about deep relaxation, destroys energy blocks, detoxifies the system, provides new vitality in the form of heaing universal life energy and increases the vibrational frequency of the body. Most reiki treatments do not involved actual touching, but oaccasionally can include cradling the head and other gentle contact. The practitioner holds his or her hands a few inches or farther away from the patient’s body and manipulates the energy field from there.
Rolfing Structural Integration
RSI is named after its developer, Ida Rolf. It is a holistic system of soft tissue manipulation and movement educaiton by manipulating the body’s myofascial system. The practitioner moves the patient’s fascia, or connecting tissue between the muscles, releasing tensions the restrict blood flow and sensation. “Rolfing” is said to have an unequal and unprecedented ability to dramatically alter a person’s posture and structure. Rolfing may ease pain and chronic stress and improve performance in daily activites.
The classical techniques of Yoga date back more than 5,000 years. It is meant to bring the mind and body together in a harmonious experience. The whole system of Yoga is based upn exercise, breath and meditation. The exercises and “poses” are meant to put pressure on the glandular systems of the body, increasing its efficiency and total health. Breathing techniques are based on the concept that breath is the source of life in the body. Regular practice contributes to flexibility, strength and the mind-body connection.
There are over a hundered different schools of Yoga. Some of the most well known include Hatha Yoga, Iyengar, Vinyasa and Bikrum.
Other forms of Body Work/Awareness to Explore:
If you have had a significant improvement in basic health and body alignment through the use of body work, please leave a comment and tell us your story!