Holistic Healing, Functional Voice
We use Eastern and Western, metaphysical and scientific methods in teaching functional voice.
The Eastern side of our work is represented by Jin Shin Jyutsu Physio-Philosophy, a Japanese healing art that draws on Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic concepts.
The scientific evidence-based side of our work comes from our understanding of neural activation and the homeostatic and allostatic balance.
Understanding the Voice in the Context of the Nervous System
The brain controls the functioning of the entire body. It sends its responses to the various systems of the body via chemical (hormones, neurotransmitters etc.) and electrical messengers (the nervous system).
The Mind is a system of neurons that are constantly in used.
The autonomous nervous system has two modes: ‘fight-flight-freeze’ and ‘rest, digest and reproduce’. They function to protect and to repair the body respectively.
In ‘fight-flight-freeze’ mode, the body is primed to either take on the perceived threat, run away from it or play dead so that the threat goes away. In fight-flight-freeze,the body take big, shallow breaths so that it gets as much oxygen as possible to fight or escape a perceived threat. The body tenses in a form of ‘armouring’. Vulnerable areas such as the throat and the abdomen (which protects the viscera) are particularly susceptible to armouring. These are unfortunately, required in any form of voice work.
‘Fight-flight-freeze’ mode is meant to be temporary. The body adapts to the stress temporarily and is meant to go back to normal functioning (type A allostasis). However, the lack of mental and emotional hygiene education coupled with a busy lifestyle keeps ‘fight-flight-freeze’ activated 24/7, contributing to anxiety, depression & burnout (type B allostasis).
In ‘rest, digest and reproduce’ mode, the breathing is deep and the body is relaxed.
We actively move the body away from its protective function into its rest function before commencing voice teaching.
Neural Activation and the Voice: Better Prediction, Better Voice
We all have one side of the body we prefer. Most people are right-handed. Consequently the brain areas associated with this side of the body gain dominance over other brain areas, resulting in imbalances that affect posture as the body follows the dominant eye. When these under-used areas are activated through exercises, the brain’s predictive ability increases as its processing capability improves. The brain’s predictive ability affects the coordination of the respiratory and the phonatory system to produce sound on pitch.
Jin Shin Jyutsu Physio-Philosophy and the Voice: Moving Energy, Moving Voice
Jin Shin Jyutsu Physio-Philosophy allows us to pinpoint the physical, mental and emotional causes of disharmony manifested in the body.
Jin Shin Jyutsu Physio-Philosophy is an ancient art of harmonizing the life energy in the body.
All bodies contain several energy pathways that feed life into all the cells. When one or more of these pathways become blocked, this damming effect may cause stagnation or even pain. This blockage or stagnation will not only disrupt the local area but will continue and eventually disharmonize the complete path or paths of the energy flow.
Through Jin Shin Jyutsu, our awareness is awakened to the simple fact that we are endowed with the ability to harmonize and balance ourselves (in rhythm with the universe) physically, mentally and spiritually.
Translated literally, Jin Shin Jyutsu means:
Shin: Man of Knowing and Compassion
(‘Art of the Creator through Man of Knowing and Compassion’)
According to ancient written records, which remain in the Archives of the Imperial Palace in Japan, Jin Shin Jyutsu was known before the birth of Gautama Buddha, before the birth of Moses and before the Kojiki (Record of Ancient Things- A.D 712).
After using Jin Shin Jyutsu to clear himself of life-threatening illness, Master Murai devoted the rest of his life to the research and development of Jin Shin Jyutsu. The resulting knowledge was then given to his student Mary Burmeister brought it to the USA in the 1950s where it subsequently spread to the rest of the world.
Jin Shin Jyutsu employs twenty-six “safety energy locks’ along energy pathways that feed life into our bodies. When one or more of the paths become blocked, the resulting stagnation can disrupt the local are and eventually disharmonize the complete path of energy flow. Holding these energy locks in combination can bring balance to mind, body, and spirit.
Through the process of ‘now know me’, we recognize the wisdom of the body and learn to interpret the messages provided and utilize them to restore balance in mind, body, and spirit
In Jin Shin Jyutsu, all disharmonies result from one or more Attitudes. Attitudes are mental/emotional states of Being. Chronic thought patterns create a protracted neurochemical and neuromuscular state which in turn feed back to the brain in a vicious cycle.
Jin Shin Jyutsu recognizes five Attitudes- Worry, Fear, Anger, Sadness, and Trying to/Pretense. Unlike emotions that come and go, Attitudes are entrenched bio-socio-cultural-political phenomenon which are more enduring.
These Attitudes may be harmonized by holding the finger associated with it, that is, holding the thumb for Worry, the index finger for Fear, the middle finger or Anger, the ring finger for Sadness and the little finger for Trying-to/ Pretense. When the Attitude is harmonised, the body relaxes, the breath deepens and singing is improved.