Voice for Healing Mental and Physical Pain

Roy Hart

Earlier this year I had a trauma that left me with severe pain in my muscles and joints.  Pain killers didn’t help much and  I had to surrender to having constant pain. I just hoped and prayed that it would not stay. Three things brought me through to now where I am almost pain-free, healthier and energised.

One was using my voice. I’d learned about the work of legendary voice coach, Alfred Wolfsohn early on when I first came to London.  An extraordinary man who believed that extending the range of notes in your voice and volume in your voice, had a healing effect on your mind and body.  When he died in 1962 he passed on the baton to Roy Hart, who continued to practice his vocal technique in the Roy Hart theatre company in  Malérargues, , France. Wolfsohn said that “Everyone has the same possibilities to sing with a five to six octave range”.  Think Prince and Bjork and you get the picture.   Wolfson didn’t believe in just random shouting or yelling, he wanted the sound to be focussed on different notes.
So I decided I would let rip with a few very loud and probably very discordant notes.  But where to go?  I’ve done big voice work before in squash courts, but my local one is closed for lockdown.  I could go out on to the Common but there are so many people out there now that it looks like a Lowry.  It would be impossible in my lat as I would have my neighbours thinking I was under attack and sending for the police.  I would try inside my car – and this worked.  The mental and physical release was almost instantaneous.  I even found that I could use different notes to pinpoint the pain in different parts of my body.  I found myself laughing.  When I could drive again, I continued to let rip with a few very loud notes – I knew no one could hear me but I did get a few smiles from people, which helped a lot.
I also practised meditation as taught to me by The Venerable Bhatsakorn Piyobhaso.  It is allowing you to focus on the pain and gradually, with the rise and fall of your stomach, let the pain pass from your conscious mind.  At the beginning of meditation I let thoughts disappear to the left or right (in my mind’s eye) and I did the same when the pain began to diminish. 
Undoubtedly voice work has helped clients and me cope during the lock downs.  Even when I felt weak and low, I knew there were plenty of souls who would not come out of this lockdown and the sheer size of the Covid pandemic diminished my pain.  My heart goes out to all those who have lost loved ones and to those who work on the front line of Covid sufferers at the NHS.  They will need a lot of help and support to recover from what they have been through over these last two years.


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