Vocal Unloading and Voice Physical Therapy for Healthcare Professionals

Vocal Unloading and Voice Physical Therapy for Healthcare Professionals

Instructor: Annie Strauch, APA Musculoskeletal and Sports Physiotherapist

Course Description

I am very excited to host Annie Strauch, a Performance Medicine Physical Therapist near Melbourne, Australia, for four intense days, July 22, 23, 24, & 25, 2021, cost $1595. One of her many unique talents is, Vocal Physiotherapy, Evaluation and Treatment is individualized to reflect the individuality of voice production, and each person’s vocal demands and goals.

Vocal physiotherapy is for all voice users, both professional and amateur, and those with vocal issues. Most commonly, Vocal Physiotherapy is beneficial for singers, actors, people experiencing voice quality issues, increased effort with vocalization, pain with vocalization, tongue tension, and throat pain of a muscular origin. Treatment is regularly in conjunction with their vocal coach, Ear Nose, and Throat (ENT) or voice therapist. Those diagnosed with a voice issue, such as dysphonia, by their ENT specialist or speech pathologist, are often referred for vocal physiotherapy. Treatment will have a team approach with their Physical Therapist working together with the referring ENT or speech pathologist.

Freedom Physical Therapy Services and Performance Medicine is pleased to announce a Vocal Physiotherapy (known as Vocal Unloading®) tour to the USA.

Do you have patients who lose their voice, complain of throat pain, or have swallowing issues?
Do you understand the relationship between the larynx, neck, and TMJ?
Are any of your patients’ singers?

Discover how Vocal Physiotherapy can assist you in assessing and managing laryngeal dysfunction – the missing link.

Over four days, we will cover two modules of Vocal Physiotherapy that will be practical and immediately applicable in your daily clinical practice. These modules will help you understand the clinical rationale and clinical implications of voice and larynx dysfunction and, importantly, how to tackle it.

What is Vocal Physiotherapy

Vocal Physiotherapy is physiotherapy treatment that acts as a neuromuscular cycle breaker to enhance and improve the efficiency of the performance voice and the injured or pathological voice.
Vocal Physiotherapy (formerly known as Vocal Unloading®) is performed by physiotherapists who have extensive knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of the larynx and voice. Like any other part of the body, the larynx is made up of joints, cartilage, ligaments, and muscles. The structures can be susceptible to injury or overuse, which can result in pain and dysfunction. Vocal Physiotherapy for the voice is the assessment, treatment, and neuromuscular retraining of injuries to the anatomical structures that connect to and are related to the larynx.

Simplistically, our voice is produced by the “Power-Source-Filter” model, which is a complex coordination of vocal fold vibrations, breath, muscle tone, and recruitment and posture.
One aspect of Vocal Physiotherapy involves retraining these components and their role in voice production. Treatment for each person is highly individualized, as each individual’s voice and vocal requirements are unique.

Although it is a physiotherapy technique, your treatment experience will likely involve working as a team with a speech therapist, vocal coach, and ENT specialists.

  • Your Vocal Physiotherapy assessment and treatment may include the following areas:
  • Posture (head, neck, lumbopelvic)
  • Cervical spine (neck)
  • TMJ (temporomandibular joint, commonly known as the jaw)
  • Scapula kinematics and control
  • Breathing patterns and breathing management (deep abdominal and pelvic floor muscle activity)
  • Myofascial lines

Vocal Physiotherapy is appropriate for those

  • Professional voice users (e.g., teacher, lecturer, singer
  • With a high vocal load
  • Concerned with their voice
  • Experiencing throat pain

About the Instructor

Annie Strauch (B. Phty (Hons), M. Phty(Musc), M.Phty(Sports), APAM) is a titled APA Musculoskeletal and Sports Physiotherapist. She is the Australian pioneer of Vocal Physiotherapy, physiotherapy treatment of the professional voice, and dysfunctional voice. She works in a multidisciplinary team in conjunction with ENT specialists, speech pathologists, and vocal coaches. She has presented the Vocal Physiotherapy concepts nationally at Speech Pathology, ENT and voice teacher conferences, and internationally at the Voice Foundation (USA) and the International Congress of Voice Teachers.

Annie is an expert in dance physio, sports physio, and vocal unloading/vocal physiotherapy. Annie’s passion for performance physiotherapy developed on London’s West End, where she managed performers in over 30 productions. She manages the dance physio for Australian theatre productions providing performance optimization, treatment, and movement development.

Course Modules

MODULE ONE: Foundations of Voice

A practical introduction to Vocal Physiotherapy for physiotherapists.

After this module, you will have a deeper understanding of the anatomy, physiology, and biomechanics of the laryngeal mechanism and how the voice is produced. The practical sessions will allow you to apply this knowledge to assess the larynx and perilaryngeal region and what the clinical implications of your findings may be to guide your treatment choices.

Practical technique sessions will teach you how to use unique manual techniques to treat and manage your clinical findings and alleviate voice and throat disorders. Learn how to apply these techniques to not only the voice but to many upper quadrant issues as well.

Module One: Foundations of the Voice Objectives

Upon completion of this course participants will be able to:

  • Define the anatomy of the larynx
  • Define basic vocal fold physiology
  • Define basic voice disorders and the medical assessment
  • Explain speech pathology input into voice disorders
  • Understand laryngeal manual therapy research
  • Explain the maladaptive voice cycle
  • Explain the neuromuscular cycle breaker in voice use
  • Demonstrate basic laryngeal assessment skills
  • Demonstrate basic laryngeal palpation skills
  • Demonstrate basic laryngeal manual techniques
  • Describe appropriate basic techniques for muscle tension dysphonia

MODULE TWO: The Challenging Larynx: Performance & Pathological Voice

Module Two allows you to develop your vocal manual therapy skills further. The focus of these two days is on the pathological voice and performance voice. You will learn how to tune up the performance voice. You will consolidate your knowledge in understanding the anatomy of the floor of the mouth, tongue, and suprahyoid/infrahyoids in the context of the larynx rather than the TMJ.

Your practical sessions will support you to become confident in:

  • Managing the Performance Voice – how to increase a singer’s vocal range, increase quality, decrease effort, and increase their joy in singing.
  • Managing Pathological voice disorders that create throat pain and dysfunction such as, irritable larynx syndrome, chronic cough, and Vocal Cord Dysfunction

Module Two: The Challenging Larynx Objectives

Upon completion of The Challenging Larynx participants will be able to:

  • Define the anatomy of the larynx, tongue, soft palate
  • Describe the anatomy of the floor of the mouth and tongue
  • Define the normal aging process of the larynx & vocal folds
  • Define the most common throat pain syndromes & their management
  • Consider pathobiological mechanisms of pain in the context of throat pain
  • Define the most common voice styles & voice types
  • Define the most common singing pedagogues
  • Explain the laryngeal position in various singing styles
  • Understand voice-related pathologies
  • Demonstrate excellent laryngeal assessment skills
  • Demonstrate singing voice assessment & palpation skills
  • Demonstrate tongue palpation & treatment techniques
  • Explain the neuromuscular cycle breaker in voice use
  • Understand the use of Vocal Physiotherapy techniques in the context of treating the performance voice & throat pain syndromes

General Information

What sort of clothing should I wear?

Please wear comfortable clothing. Females, please wear a low backed singlet so that your upper torso can be seen for assessment of the upper thoracic and chest region and

Is there pre-reading?

Approximately six weeks before the course, pre-reading will be sent via email. Pre-reading involves a few journal articles and short videos to familiarize yourself with this space.
The upper cervical spine and TMJ knowledge is presumed and recommended.

Registration Details

Level: Advanced
Target Audience: PTs, OTs
Dentists and Physicians may attend
CEUs: TBD
Price: $1595

Upcoming TMJ Courses

Date Location Host  Registration 
July 22-25, 2021 Fox Point, WI Freedom Physical Therapy Services Register Here

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