Voice Care

How Essential Oils are Transforming my Vocal Health and Supporting my Family

If you see me on social media, you probably hear me bang on about doTERRA’s essential oils and how bloody amazing they are.

So I thought I’d put pen to paper (well, hands to laptop) and tell you how they are supporting me, my voice and my family.

I’m feeling pretty inspired to write this today because only yesterday the oils had an incredible impact on my Grandmother Mavis.

Grandma woke up sick as a dog on her 80th birthday. We had a massive party planned for her in the evening, with family coming from all over Australia to be there.

So on top of being sick, she was also anxious about the fact that she may not be well enough for her party.

When I arrived at her house with my kit of oils, she was pale and had severe stomach pains. So first things first, we applied doTERRA’s DigestZen on her stomach to relieve the pain. I also made up a blend of:  

- Frankincense (helps inflammation and has a calming effect on the nervous system)

- On Guard (supports a healthy immune system and is very uplifting)

- Lavender (reduces anxious feelings).

I mixed this with coconut oil and applied it to her chest, temples, behind her ears, and on her spine.  

Within ten minutes, Grandma’s stomach ache had gone and colour returned to her face. Within half an hour she was up, talking to the family and getting ready for her party. Speaking of her party, she was the last one to leave at 12 am!

I can’t tell you what this means to me to see my family well and happy! My Mum for instance, who has struggled with her sleeping for a large chunk of her adult life, is now going to bed before 10 pm and not waking up until 7 in the morning. This has significantly improved her energy levels, not to mention her physical and mental well-being.

As for myself, I find myself happier and healthier. I use my doTERRA Home Essentials Kit on a daily basis and take the Life Long Vitality Pack, which are doTERRA’s awesome supplements.

I will write more about this in more detail but here is a quick snapshot of how I use the oils for my mental and physical health as well as to support my vocal health.

1.  Every night before I go to bed I rub diluted DigestZen in fractionated coconut oil and rub it on my stomach clockwise. Why do I do this? For singers, acid reflux is a bloody killer for the larynx, in particular, the vocal folds. So to avoid this, I use DigestZen and so far, so good!

2.  I’m OBSESSED with Frankincense! If you could own one oil, this would be your guy. He’s the King of all the oils because he comes with a string of benefits. Namely, he targets inflammation in the body. So I dilute Frankincense and Lemon in fractionated coconut oil and rub it on my throat every day. I’ve noticed massive changes in my vocal health! I don’t seem to experience as much fatigue as I used to. I have to point out however that consistent vocal exercises and staying hydrated are also important factors at play here.  

3. I LOVE lavender. I diffuse it at night time and from time to time rub it on my throat region to relax my vocal muscles. I also put it on the side of my temples if I ever get a headache, which is becoming less and less frequent these days. It’s also now part of my skincare regime and is clearing up facial redness. 

4. Peppermint has become my new afternoon coffee and has also replaced hay fever tablets. My hay fever used to be off the charts. Not anymore. But when it does flare up, I press a drop of peppermint oil on my hard palate, which relieves it almost instantly. When I experience an afternoon slump, I inhale a drop of peppermint as a pick me up, which will get me through a night of teaching.

5. On Guard has now become my natural cleaning solution and my saviour in the studio. I’m pretty much diffusing it in the studio every day to avoid germies. I use it too to clean my microphone after every student. It also smells like a natural version of ‘juicy fruit’.

I could seriously keep going on and on about them, which, don’t you worry, I plan to do!

For now, I want to alert you to the fact that with every Home Essentials Kit purchased before 1 January, you get a free bottle of Frankincense, which is worth $119.

In the Home Essentials kit, you get 15ml bottles of:

-       Frankincense

-       Lemon

-       Lavender

-       Peppermint

-       On Guard

-       Tea Tree

-       Oregano

-       Easy Air

-       Ice Blue (5ml)

-       A diffuser

-       An enrolment pack that entitles you to wholesale prices (25% off) for a year.

 
Essential Oils, Vocal Health
 


So if you get in purchase the kit today or tomorrow, you get an addition Frankincense.

All of this for $330. If you bought this all individually with the enrolment pack ($35), you’d pay $477.

So this is incredible value!

You also get a free 1hr Wellness Consultation with me, including access to an incredible member’s only Facebook group, with over 3000 members, for your ongoing oils support and education.

You will also be a part of a natural wellness revolution that is, quite frankly, taking over the world.

So to order your home essentials kit, go to:

Go to: www.mydoterra.com/mellathouras

– Select ‘Join & Save’

– Select ‘Local’

– Select ‘Wholesale Pricing’ or ‘Wellness Advocate’ (by clicking on Wellness Advocate opens you up to the possibility of getting your oils for free and/or earn commissions.)

– Enter your details

– Choose the Home Essentials Kit plus fractionated coconut oil.

– Bob's Your Uncle! Your kit will arrive within 4-10 business days!

- Please shoot me a quick email to introduce yourself hello@fearlesssinger.com so I can organize your Wellness Consult and connect you with the members-only Facebook groups. 

If you need help with any of the above, please give me a call on 0447 016 546.

Here's the link again => www.mydoterra.com/mellathouras

Remember, you only have 24hrs to get the free Frankincense! I can guarantee you, you’re going to LOVE frankincense so you will be sorted for quite a while with two bottles!

Happy New Year!!  I will be in touch very soon!

Love

Mel X

Can Yoga Improve Your Singing? Spoiler Alert: The Answer is Yes

  Brisbane Singing and Yoga Teacher - Sarah Collyer

Brisbane Singing and Yoga Teacher - Sarah Collyer

Have you ever thought of doing yoga but the idea of floundering about with the poses in front of a group people puts you off?

Well you’re not alone mate! I’ve been there, many times over.

The thing is, the more times you go, you soon realize that the only person in the room judging you is YOU!

Anyway, I digress… I wanted to let you know that after months and months of not going to yoga, I finally forced myself to go on a particularly rainy night in Brisbane.

I drove through ridiculous traffic with a foggy rear view mirror (haven’t worked out how to use my demister yet), having near misses with buses, to finally arrive at the studio feeling pretty edgy, to say the least.

However as soon as the class started and we sang Gershwin’s Summertime as a group while doing gentle stretches, I felt the irritation melt away and I was engulfed by a sense of calm.

Singing? I hear you ask.

Yes, you heard right. I went to a singing yoga class. And it was AHHH-MAZING!!!!!   

My voice felt incredible after I left and I came out feeling like Maria in the iconic mountain top scene in the Sound of Music.

 Anyhow, to give you a better idea of the class, I had a chat with singer and yoga teacher Sarah Collyer in today’s Fearless TV episode. She is the master mind behind this genius concept.

 

Once you’ve had a chance to watch it, I would love to hear from you!

Is this something you’d consider incorporating into your daily routine?

How could you incorporate stretches into your daily singing practice?  

Please leave your comments in the blog post!

If you are keen to catch a class, it’s on Monday nights 6:30-7:30pm, 3/233 Albert Street in the city.

For more info, you can go to Sarah’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/breathebodymindandvoice/

 

  

YOU'VE LOST YOUR VOICE! Here's how to get it back & make it stay

I woke up one morning to this urgent text from a good friend of mine.

Has this ever happened to you?

You have something super important coming up – a performance, a presentation, an audition, you’re marrying your friends – and a few days short of the event, you get ill and voila…your voice decides to go on a silent retreat for a week without informing you. You open your mouth to speak and a few phlegmy, painful spluttering sounds come out instead.

This has certainly happened to me!

In fact it seemed to be a recurring theme in my life. Anything significant looming – a recording project, a vocal exam, an important gig – and suddenly I either have laryngitis moving in with me for a week or I have vocal fatigue resulting in hoarseness. 

So… what’s the deal?

When we lose our voices from laryngitis or from energetic use, it means that our vocal folds may be temporarily swollen and inflamed.  So our body, the kickass healer that is, will send more fluid to the second layer of the vocal fold structure.  It does this to protect the folds as well as to heal the inflammation. The drawback is that we end up sounding like Vito Corleone from the Godfather or losing our voices altogether.

What can you do to recover?

When your voice goes missing in action, it is important to realize there are deeper issues at play here. We will get to this, but for now it is important to realize that this isn’t just a case of bad luck or timing. There are tangible things you can do to stop this from reoccurring. 

But for now the first step is…

1. Acceptance

You need to accept the situation, as gut-wrenchingly annoying as it is! If you try to “fight it”, it’s just going to make things worse by putting you and your body under stress.  

Acceptance takes the load off.  You allow yourself to be in a state of calm and make the decision to simply go with flow. You say to yourself, “you know what, life has my back. If I have to reschedule or miss out, so be it! It’s for my highest good.”

By retraining the mind to respond to these situations with acceptance, you’re teaching yourself not to ‘buy into the drama’. Have you ever noticed that the more you dwell on a negative situation, the worse it seems to get…However when you decide not to worry, the situation resolves itself rather quickly?

2. Stop talking

Seriously, don’t utter another word for the time being. And please try not whisper. There’s a danger that whispering can cause excess constriction and can also have a drying effect on the vocal folds. If you need to communicate, do so via text message, email, any form of social media, sign language or an old fashion notepad and pen. Don’t worry about looking like a diva or a dick or both.  Any voice rest will help!

3. Make water your beverage of choice: Drink it and inhale it

Hydration is key. Keep sipping on water throughout the day. Also steam. I have one of those green Bosisto inhalers, which are great if you want to take your steamer on the road with you. But personally I prefer to put my head over a bowl of hot water with a tea towel covering me. If you do this, be careful not to burn yourself. Also don’t be tempted to put eucalyptus or any other essential oil in the water when you steam because this can do more harm than good by aggravating the folds.

3. Drink this warm concoction a few times throughout the day

Warm water mixed with: 

- the juice of half a lemon

- fresh ginger finely chopped &

- a generous teaspoon of Manuka honey (the higher the UMF rating the better).

I also like to add a couple of teaspoons of coconut oil although I do acknowledge that evidence of it having antibacterial, healing properties is not conclusive. But I choose to believe that it does and I like the taste.

Actually, why don’t you make this your morning ritual drink for the rest of your life? Ayurvedic medical practitioners claim it’s an effective daily detox. So get those bowels working like a well-oiled machine as well as ward off any seasonal flus. Aww yeah!

4. Take Bromelain Forte

This supplement is a singers’ best friend. It is an enzyme found in pineapple juice and in the pineapple stem and is used to reduce swelling caused by inflammation. It also repairs soft-tissue and is great in managing sinusitis symptoms. I take it daily.

4. Write a love letter to your voice

A few years back, I got outed from the ‘New Age Closet’ by my jazz pianist housemate when he found a letter I had written to my voice. I tucked it away in a book I had lent him and had forgotten it was there. While it was a source of jest for a few days, I believe it attributed to my fast recovery of laryngitis. While I understand the process may feel a bit daggy at first, I challenge you to try it. You have nothing to lose (except for perhaps your dignity when someone finds it). Anyhow here is the letter I wrote all those years ago for the whole world to see!  Out and proud!  

OK now you have your voice on the mend… how do you keep it healthy

You know the drill. It’s important to have a good nutritious diet, to regularly exercise and drink eight glasses of water a day.

It’s also important to exercise moderation with alcohol, caffeine and chocolate and to avoid smoking, constantly clearing your throat and talking over loud noises.

Aim to keep reflux at bay by cutting down on foods and beverages that are notoriously acidic such as fizzy drinks, tea, coffee, spicy meals, tomatoes and tomato sauces and citrus. Also leave 2 hours between eating and bedtime.

You know…just BE NICE TO YOURSELF!

Voice care is a whole other blog post on its own but the most important thing I want to get across in this article is to adopt a loving attitude towards yourself. A healthy mind equates to a healthy body and therefore a healthy voice.

A list of loving things you can do for yourself include:

- Meditating for 15 minutes a day first thing in the morning will make you feel like a badass for the rest of the day. It does wonders for stress and anxiety. It helps you deal with life in a calm manner and can also allow you to come to your own solutions to perceived problems.

- Take a daily relaxing stroll

- Say nice things about yourself: I’m a big believer that our words shape our reality. So creating positive beliefs about yourself and your voice is imperative. I also believe it is important to speak your truth and to express yourself authentically. So if something is bothering you, get it out of your body by putting it into words. Then follow it up with a positive spin using solution-orientated language.

- Take yourself on an artist date once a week: Julia Cameron author of the Artists’ Way suggests taking some alone time and going to an art gallery or a movie or anywhere that sparks your imagination. This is a non-negotiable date/time that you set aside for yourself. Don’t be tempted to take anyone else with you. This is special sacred time between you and You.

Anyhow the list can go on and on. But I’m more interested in hearing about your self-care practices! What do you do to stay in check with yourself? Also what remedies have you tried in the past to recover from laryngitis or temporary swelling of the vocal folds? Please leave your comments below!

 

Elixir Exercise for the Voice - you will feel & hear the difference!

This gem of an exercise is like yoga for your vocal folds.

Doing it for 5min in the morning and evening or after a big session of talking or singing, means that you are stretching and deconstricting the folds.

When we experience vocal fatigue and tightness in the throat area, it means our larynx is often sitting in a high position. This exercise will help reset it back to neutral.

What are the other benefits? 

  1. The straw exercise helps us to create a lovely warm tone with forward resonance.

  2. It improves our air flow and vocal fold closure at the same time as reducing laryngeal resistance.

So basically we can use it to strengthen weak areas of our range because we are taking pressure off the larynx while allowing our vocal folds to come together efficiently on these notes.

What should you feel after the exercise?

You should experience a slight buzzing feeling around your mouth. Dr Titze says that when we come back to normal speech we should feel as though our voice is coming from our eyes instead of our larynx. He says the feel of the sound should be 'lighter and more buzzy' in the face and in the head.

So what are you waiting for?! 'Lock it in Eddie'!

Do you know that when we schedule things into our calendar we are more likely to do it? The task becomes a real event - a non-negotiable. So lock in a 5min session in the AM as well as in the PM. Or why not tack it onto an existing routine? If you meditate or do yoga in the morning, follow it up with a session with the straw.

 

Please let me know how you go with this! Share your results in the comments below. Can you notice a difference? How have you fitted this exercise into your daily routine?