To steam or not to steam…
by Kathleen Maloney
As a vocalist, I am very passionate about maintaining a healthy voice. If you are serious about your singing, then you need to be serious about your vocal health. Sometimes we are getting sick, sick already or vocally fatigued. The steamer is easy to use and will help your voice heal.
Of course it’s imperative that we develop and maintain efficient technique while singing e.g doing correct warm ups and warm downs; hydrating our vocal folds and body by drinking at least 2L of water per day, but steaming is another effective method of keeping your voice in the best condition.
What does steaming do?
Steaming creates high levels of blood flow to the larynx and vocal folds which encourages healing, assists with removing lactic acid and helps hydrate.
Should I add oils?
NO. We only want the water, the oils are too harsh for our vocal folds. Also, most oils, when very hot, are vaporised but as they cool then solidify again onto our vocal folds which is dangerous. Clean water is it! Simples!
Between 1 and 3 times a day.
Make sure you do not talk or sing directly after a steam. Give yourself at least one hour of vocal rest to let the steam do its magic. Because there is so much blood to the area, it just means your voice will have a higher chance of vocal haemorrhaging if you engage in singing or speaking directly after use.
Basically, steam and then be quiet. 2 – 3 times a day is great for a gigging singer but at the very least do it directly after your gig and just before bed.
Seek medical advice before starting to use a personal steamer. For those with asthma or any other medical conditions, your GP needs to be consulted.