Riva Capellari

[email protected]

Located in Brookside in the heart of Kansas City

Staying Well

Cold Season
As controversy hovers over health care reform, most of us carry on day to day, trying to keep ourselves well. Increasingly, people are considering alternative and/or integrative medicine to meet their health needs. The Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine (CAHCIM) defines integrative medicine as follows:
“the practice of medicine that reaffirms the importance of the relationship between practitioner and patient, focuses on the whole person, is informed by evidence and makes use of all appropriate therapeutic approaches, heath care professionals and disciplines to achieve optimal health and healing”. Whew! Simply put, integrative medicine combines alternative and traditional western medical practices that will best suit each individual patient – a more holistic (whole-istic) approach to health care.

As we enter the cold and flu season, where we spend most of our time indoors, in many cases, in close quarters with others, it behooves us to take some time to incorporate into our lives practices that will help us fend off germs and viruses that can make us ill. Voice professionals, whether speakers or singers, should be especially wary of any URI (upper respiratory infection) that can cause vocal difficulties in carrying out their responsibilities. And since hibernation is not an option for most of us, here are a few ideas to mull over for a healthy winter season.
We know that a balanced diet is a major factor for good health, but the addition of nutritional supplements can be beneficial. Nutrients in food are sometimes lost through cooking or food processing or lacking because of poor soil or poor food choices. Vitamin D and Fish Oil are commonly taken supplements, but a lack of magnesium for instance, is known to influence blood pressure, migraines, memory and other functions.* Some integrative practitioners also use plant based products, such as herbs like Black Cohosh and St. John’s Wort to complement diet and supplements and to treat menopausal symptoms and depression, respectively. However, it is of the utmost importance that the use of herbs and even supplements is monitored by a medical professional as they both can have negative interactions with other drugs.
Besides diet, exercise and stress management are also major players in the maintenance of good health. Physical fitness is essential for performing at your peak . It helps your mood, strengthens your immune and musculo-skeletal systems, raises energy levels and induces good sleep patterns. Professional voice users are vocal athletes. They need to stay “in shape” which includes building a strong body to fend off illness. Some very old traditional mind-body practices like yoga and tai chi have become a popular alternative to the gym. They focus on a combination of strengthening, balancing and flexibility exercises with meditation and relaxation techniques. You may want to work with a trainer to build a fitness program that will get you to your physical fitness goal without injury.
And last , but not least – stress management! We have all most likely read numerous articles and books about how to reduce the amount of stress in our lives. There is little argument that stress can undermine our immune systems, making us vulnerable to health problems that can become chronic and difficult to treat because of recurring symptoms from unrelieved stress. Learning to live less stressfully can be achieved through many different channels including all of the above. Social activities and spiritual experiences are other avenues to pursue to keep balance in our lives and stay healthy!
So instead of waiting for New Year’s resolutions, start now to protect yourself from the seasonal onslaught of flu, colds and other viruses that can put a dent into your professional and social life. You will sleep better, have more energy, enjoy life more and build a strong body and voice!
*M.A. Olerich & R.K. Rude, “Should We Supplement Magnesium in Critically Ill Patients?” New Horizons w, No.2.
Edmon, Joel; Kondrad, Lauren & Rakel, Birgit. “The Use of Nutrition and Integrative Medicine or Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Singers. JOS, Vol. 68, No.2.
Home Sweet Home
In addition to diet and exercise, we can adapt our home environment to make it more vocal friendly. I always have living plants in my studio – they give off oxygen, take in carbon dioxide and add moisture to the air. When we turn on the furnace that first chilly morning, we disturb dust that has been sitting idle in the vents and ducts during the warmer months. Employing an air cleaner and a humidifier (to counter the dry air) will make your home a better place to inhale! Remember that whatever we breathe in comes in direct contact with throat and vocal fold tissue so keeping the air clean and moist will benefit our voices and our skin! So take some time to research air cleaners and humidifiers for purchase – the internet makes it fast and easy.

Holiday Hassles
Are you already feeling the stress of the upcoming holidays? Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away and Christmas looms in the near future. So when you start thinking about what to give that special someone, consider a gift certificate from reVoice. Starting at $25, they can be used for individual sessions, classes or workshops. You can find descriptions of these services on my website, or feel free to contact me at [email protected] for more details

Famous and Not-so-Famous Quotes
And speaking of holidays, again, one does not have to wait for New Year’s to start something new. I have initiated a new idea in my voice studio, a weekly quote that I display on my piano and share with my students. It is sometimes the basis for a lively discussion. I’ve encouraged my students to contribute to my growing list of quotes and will extend that sharing to my newsletter clients. November’s quote is by Anne Dillard, one that I keep on my bulletin board in my office and read often to help keep me on track.
“How we spend our days is how we spend our lives”.
Going back to the main article on staying healthy, how we live every day, what we eat, how much sleep we get and how much stress we experience daily will eventually be how our lives are lived, so don’t wait to make changes. Do it Now!

Winter Break
During the winter months, reVoice suspends classes and workshops, although private vocal sessons can still be scheduled. Because of the holidays and weather conditions during this time, I have concluded, after many years, that it is best to take a break from classes until spring when the threat of snow and icy roads lessens. Canceled classes are difficult to re-schedule and contribute to my stress level, so I have found this to be a great solution! It also gives me time to reflect and study and hopefully bring new ideas to my classes and workshops when we begin anew.
Again this spring, I hope to offer a one hour introductory voice class through Communiversity. This is a good opportunity to see what actually goes on in a voice class and get a taste of whether or not it is for you! I will continue to send out monthly newsletters and keep you up to date on when classes will resume.


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