Posts Tagged ‘highs’

Acid reflux, vocal cords, and acupuncture

January 7, 2010

The question is asked how does acid reflux affect singing highs and why a particular singer found that acupuncture worked for him.   See’s discussion forum

Acid reflux doesn’t just affect the vocal cords, but the entire vocal tract.   Just a little bit of acid, and I would even suggest acidic fumes, can weaken the entire vocal tract.   This means that acid reflux affects the resonace control and vocal cords.

My opinion is:  if you have major acid reflux, you’ll know quickly–you’ll lose the entire vocal tract control–can’t sing in tune.   Minor acid reflux affects the quality of the control.   Remember that the vocal cords alone sound tinny, and that your resonance creates the full sound, and then you’ll better understand how acid reflux works.  

Knowing this, here’s how Nexium and other proton inhibitors work.   These reduce the amount of acid and possibly acidic fumes that weaken your vocal tract, and hence improve your singing quality control.

One can also reduce acid by changing diet (eat less, less fatty foods that require more digestion time), losing weight (my guess is less pressure on the stomach and vocal tract), and other well-known methods.

Lesser known–one can reduce the acid by manipulating your body posture.  Don’t lie down horizontally (even when sleeping; sleep at an incline), sit straight, try to strengthen the lower esophageal valve, and also the upper esophageal valve (I hope I said these correctly).   These are described in my blog   Lift up the entire rib cage–not by a deliberate mental lift, but by relaxing and toning the entire spine and thorax and abdomen muscles and myofasica.  Much of vocalposture is about this process.   You’ll sing better and relieve acid reflux at the same time.

As for acupuncture, massage, etc., as mentioned in the question    These can work as well.   How, precisely?   One of the comments said earlier is that there is no “scientific proof” that these work.   Indeed, there is little “scientific proof” these don’t work either.   Just because something isn’t proven, doesn’t mean it’s false; though it may be suspect. 

Remember though that there are usually more false methods than true ones, so suspect is suspect.  However, it is not true that suspect is false–some suspect methods may very well work.

There is abundant evidence that acupuncture and massage do affect the circulatory, nervous, and muscular-tension systems.  If one accepts these, then one can view one’s relief through these therapies sensibly.

Acid reflux is primarily due to too much pressure causing the stomach contents to go up to the throat.  

Acupuncture, massage, etc. may be helping by relieving tension (thereby reducing pressure), by relaxing your vocal tract (which may be tense from continous exposure to acid reflux), or by simply improving your vocal tract muscular performance.  Anyhow, all these make sense by understanding the posture of the vocal tract, which is what is about.

I hope this helps.

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