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Massage is an ancient form of bodywork that has, for centuries, been believed to have healing and restorative outcomes. There are many benefits of massage to both our physical selves and our mental health and wellbeing.

Massage can reduce muscle tension and increase joint mobility and flexibility. For singers, we know that laryngeal flexibility is important. Singers’ ability to navigate complex passages and sustain singing over long phrases and periods of time in performance all rely on this mobility and strength. As well as ensuring muscle tone and movement, massage can also form a key part of recovery and cooling down voices.

Specifically for singers, a vocal massage can increase freedom of movement in the larynx, as well as releasing tension from the jaw and tongue. If you have a clicky jaw, a massage can be a useful way of helping alleviate this condition alongside other treatments. It can provide relief for singers with a diagnosis of muscle tension dysphonia, as well as being part of a regular programme or maintenance and voice care.

Including torso massage in the protocol, singers can experience increased mobility in their ribcage, abdominal region and thoracic spine. This can improve posture and promote greater connection with the muscles of inhalation and exhalation. For singing, the abdominal region needs to be strong, but also soft and flexible and massage can help a singer to achieve this and reduce unhelpful holding patterns. There are also massage movements that are believed to help relieve symptoms of reflux, which can be useful in tandem with a range of other treatments and preventative measures, such as lifestyle and diet changes.

It is also important to remember that singers and their voices are not simply biological machines. Our state of mind and mental health can also impact the quality of our voices. Massage has an excellent reputation for promoting relaxation and improved mental wellbeing.

A vocal massage may not sound like your idea of relaxation, but there is no need for laryngeal massage to be painful or upsetting. Our muscles do not need to hurt in order to experience benefits from being massaged. The experience can be pleasant, soothing and yes, it can promote holistic relaxation. Often massage is shown to promote a rest and digest vagal state, which can encourage tissue and cell repair, as well as contribute to soothing the nervous system.

Most of us would agree that in our fast-paced modern life we could all do with some more rest. Not only can a vocal massage help keep your voice in peak condition, but it may also contribute to improving your overall quality of life.