I’ve spent the last year going slightly mad, and also watching lots of vocal coaching on YouTube. Over that time I’ve been using self-massage to keep my throat happy and healthy, which I talk about here:
Mostly this is an excuse to get back into gear with an easy video, but I’d love feedback from singers! For massage therapists: If you’ve got singers, public speakers, Twitch streamers, or other professionals who give their vocal cords frequent high-intensity workouts, just realize that you don’t need to target any muscles specifically, and that work in the area doesn’t need to be a direct confrontation. By engaging the superficial fascia on and around the anterior neck and putting it into traction, you’re sending powerful stretch signals to the spinal cord, both from the fascia, and from the embedded muscles. Just by dragging skin up along the track of the SCMs, you’re putting the extrinsic laryngeal muscles under traction. By going slowly here, you can send a signal that these muscles can reduce their tone — and in doing so, you can give your clients a better internal feel for these muscles. They might even use that awareness to prevent strain in the future!
Realize that you will have different leverage than your clients while working with this area, so experiment with different angles, and with working unilaterally. Having your client turn their head to the said, situating yourself near their arm, and gently dragging a broad palm down toward their sternum can be an excellent angle of approach, for instance. You can also drag toward yourself while seated at their head. As always, especially when working with the anterior neck, err on the side of being too gentle, and make sure to stay in constant communication regarding their comfort. Some clients will find broad contacts, or contacts too close to the midline, to be anxiety-provoking, so be prepared to alter your strategy.
Thanks to everyone who has been so patient as I’ve mostly taken the last year off! I know it wasn’t a vacation, but still. I’m planning on releasing a sleep meditation (!) in the coming week or two, and then getting back to our regularly scheduled massage tutorials. If you need a tutorial fix, please check in with Maria Natera at Massage Therapeutics, and also Allison Denney at Rebel Massage. Both kick incredible amounts of butt. Oh, and if you know of other worthwhile massage tutorials, please feel free to leave them in the comments below!