How Silence Makes Your Voice Stronger...

The human body is a miracle of form, function, and art. If something is amiss with a certain system, other parts of the body will rush in to help out. During acute heart attacks, when a major artery gets completely blocked, the heart can spontaneously create new channels to keep blood pumping. When a dangerous virus enters our respiratory system, the mucus membranes go to work, deploying an enzyme that can destroy the virus' cell walls. Some of our organs, like the liver, can even regenerate if a part of them is lost.

Our vocal cords also have back-up when they need it. During times of acute stress, such as prolonged shouting, they can "borrow" muscles from around the larynx to help relieve pressure and boost sound. This process is called "Extra Muscle Recruitment", and it can be effective for short periods of time. Relying on EMR for too long can create massive tension and chronic inflammation, even full laryngitis. Once your voice is fully gone it's likely to stay that way for awhile. I usually advise my clients to plan on 3 days of complete vocal rest. 

In short, inflammation is a saboteur that can wreak havoc on your voice. A good way to prevent it is to build in periods of vocal rest during your day. Many of my clients schedule an "email hour" at work, during which they do not speak at all while they respond to emails and text messages. They drink Throat Coat tea, and allow the voice some recovery time

Another helpful method of reducing vocal inflammation that I often use with my clients is Guided Breathing Meditation (I created this one), during which we focus on deep, diaphragmatic breathing, and visualize the larynx relaxing and settling into its non-inflamed position in the throat. This period of quiet and reflection can work wonders, as the para-sympathetic nervous system starts to work it's calming, soothing magic. Try it for a few days, and enjoy the extra stress-relief. Who knows... it could become a regular habit!