The GPS Girl’s Top Ten Directions for Vocal Health

1. Enough Rest
To maintain a healthy voice one of the basics is getting enough rest and adequate rest.  I have to make sure I am on top of getting a good 8 hours of sleep per night consistently to keep my voice in great shape.

2. Stay Hydrated
This is an absolute essential.  I drink a crazy amount of water throughout the day (did you know that 80% of Americans are dehydrated?) and I also drink tea.  I prefer almost tannin-free tea and make sure I am drinking water and tea all day long.

3. Honey is My Secret Weapon
Honey has an amazing number of healing properties but it is also very pleasant to taste.  If I am feeling a little tickle in my throat or I am vocally tired, I will have a spoonful of honey.  It’s one of the ways I will fight off something, by having a teaspoon of honey every hour or half hour, especially before bed.

4. Carry a Scarf
I carry a scarf with me 12 months of the year as i find I am often in some kind of artificially heated or cooled environment.  Even in the height of summer I can walk into a restaurant or a convention room and it is icy.  Being able to protect my throat with a scarf helps my body temperature and specifically my throat.  If I find my throat or neck is exposed and it is unusually cool I can catch a chill and it can be downhill from there and can lead to a vocal problem.

5. Oil Pulling
We already know about keeping hydrated and I recently learned about an ancient Ayurveda treatment called Oil Pulling.  This is amazing for overall health, and involves swishing cold-pressed organic sesame oil in the mouth for between 7 and 20 minutes first thing each morning.  I learned this from a top New York vocal coach, Joan Baker, and a great side effect is a vast improvement in dental health.  There is a lot of excellent information online about oil pulling.

6. Yelling is Telling
If you are in a loud environment and straining to be heard over music or talking, or at a sporting event, do not yell.  Do not scream.  Do not cheer super loudly.  It’s something to be extremely conscious of to protect your voice.

7. If it Hurts Don’t Do It
This may sound pretty obvious, but we’ve all been in a situation where we are a little too exuberant with our voice and it starts to hurt.  You may be giving a presentation and the microphone isn’t working properly, or you are trying to be heard over loud music or conversation.  If it hurts in any way, it is hurting your vocal cords and could lead to major problems.

8. Beware of Dairy
If you have to use your voice more than usual and know you will have to talk with people all day long at a conference or trade show, or with back to back business meetings when you are usually have a quieter workday in the office, watch how much dairy is in your diet.  It can create more mucus and the vocal passages are not as clear.

9. Skip the Ice
In the U.S. ice is routinely served in cold drinks and this can lead to big vocal problems.  It can tighten or numb your vocal cords, and for me it just irritates my throat and leaves me more susceptible to a sore throat.  Always ask for water with no ice and wean yourself off ice in all beverages.  This can have an amazing impact on your vocal comfort.

10. Clearing your Throat can Cause Injury
It was a long time before I learned this one.  Do not under any circumstances ‘clear your throat.’  This can actually injure your vocal cords.  Instead, take a sip of water, cough gently or swallow to clear the throat.

The big plus in following these directions for Vocal Health, is improved overall health.

© Karen Jacobsen   All rights reserved.


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