Massage has been documented as a treatment modality for 4000 years. However in the last 20 years, there has been a significant shift between what we thought was happening at a physiological level, versus what we now know to be much more of a neurological intervention. Because of the latest research around the neuro-physiology of massage, it has become ever more important that the interaction of the massage treatment is an empowering one.
“You’ve got the tightest traps I’ve ever seen!” Unfortunately, we have all gone for a treatment and been told that (for example) our ‘traps’ are the tightest that therapist has EVER seen, but we can’t ALL have the tightest traps in the world? This kind of interaction can negatively impact any positive outcome/s of the treatment received, and especially for the vocal system, which can already be tied up in limiting psychological and emotional factors.
Our Vocal Massage treatment is usually somewhat different to treatments you may have had in the past as it leans heavily towards a Myofascial release modality combined with a client centred interaction. The Myofascial element to the treatment makes the interaction virtually pain free, and effective but not invasive. Sometimes the certain treatment/ intervention positions can be held for several minutes at a time so that the communication between the tissues and the brain has time to process.
This treatment then is so much more than a Vocal Massage; it is an empowering interaction between you and your voice expert massage therapist.
Your safety is paramount in the clinic, and although the nature of our clinic is holistic rather than medical, detailed case/medical history is taken on your initial visit to us. Taking a medical history is as much about listening to your history, as it is learning about you and your ailments and getting to know you. Often, you can tell us what your vocal trouble is without actually giving us a diagnosis. A medical history and the subsequent follow up questions also outline any potential ‘red flags’ for the treatment which would require medical intervention rather than our holistic approach to vocal health and wellbeing.
It is also true that whilst our vocal massage treatment is very effective, it might not be the right modality for the ultimate healing experience. This is why we have a wonderful team of voice experts delivering multidisciplinary treatments, with internal referrals commonplace, which means that we are keeping all of your data, history, treatments all under one roof in a familiar setting.
Massage of the head and neck is being carried out all over the world right at this moment. The safety of our treatment relies on constant client centred feedback, with mandatory caution in place. So, instead of asking you “How’s the pressure?” We will ask you whether a) what we are doing feels safe, and b) does it feel useful?
“Does this feel safe?”
When we ask “Does this feel safe?” It isn’t because we don’t know what we’re doing, it’s actually quite the opposite. We are giving your brain a link to our touch, registering an understanding that we can never take the treatment too far and hurt you. Therapists are all too often guilty of beating muscles and soft tissue into submission, believing that any issue you may have is in those tissues. As the model of understanding pain has moved on, and our understanding has shifted to this neuro-physiological model, we know we can achieve great results without pain.
Amongst other sensory, special sensory and motor functions, the Vagus nerve (X) is responsible for our parasympathetic state. With the body in more of a parasympathetic state, the rest and digest functions start. When we experience pain, our body cannot enter this state, which is why you can be kept awake at night by pain. This is the idea behind our pain free modality, as your vocal wellbeing is dependant on your voices’ ability to rest and function with greater ease.
“Does this feel useful?”
Have you had your muscles worked on because they ‘feel’ tight to the therapist, yet they never asked you? Unfortunately you’re not alone in this experience, and we decided to do something about it.
If we are replicating or creating a ‘useful’ sensation in the tissues, we know that the brain is on board with part of this healing process in the particular area being touched. Instead of pressure being the gauge of a successful treatment, we use this question to find out what you are really feeling. The binary nature of the answer you give us means we are either doing something useful, or not. If you feel we aren’t in a useful area/ recreating useful sensations, then our combined dialogue will guide the treatment to a more useful position. as our hands only tell part of the story.
This empowerment gives you back true control of your treatment, with one of our specialist team facilitating a powerful neurological dialogue between your brain and your soft tissue.
A Vocal Massage will therefore involve soft tissue work into the anatomy that supports your vocal, respiratory and digestive systems. Depending on the presentation of your symptoms, a treatment can work across these systems from head to toe.
There are some set protocol moves for TMJ dysfunction and for the maintenance of the voice professional, but usually our client centred feedback model takes the therapist where they need to go as safely and effectively as possible.
What qualifies a therapist to be able to do Vocal Massage?
If a therapist is working with an elite football team, the efficacy of their treatment will be improved by; a knowledge of the demands of a game of football, knowledge of the training process footballers have to endure and relevant anatomical knowledge. Working with elite vocalists is no different.
Our vocal massage treatment will always be delivered by a qualified, fully insured, specialised therapist who has an intimate and detailed knowledge of the structure and function of the voice. Our team are all trained in Vocal Massage and integrate a myofascial release modality into the treatment. Not only are our excellent therapists trained in the anatomy and physiology of the vocal, respiratory and digestive systems, they can also relate to you, the vocalist, as they have all experienced being an elite level voice user through speech and song.