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Trainers’ throat


Hi there

I had a bit of a brainwave last night at one of my lectures in college. Our tutor was suffering with swollen glands and she put this down to the fact the it was the beginning of term. I too suffer with ongoing swollen glands at differing times through the year and over the past two weeks I have been experiencing this. This follows the delivery two weeks worth of workshops which I delivered.

Does anyone else experience this and if so have you any specific ways in which you prepare your throat for training?

Many thanks


9 Responses

  1. glug-glug-glug
    Hi Seanade
    I get slightly a sore throat and a dry, icky (medical term meaning “dog’s breath”) mouth. The best way to combat this is water, water and more water. I’ve also found that if I keep up the water intake during the day I feel a lot less tired when the day is finished.
    Anecdotal I know but I hope this helps

  2. H2O

    Thanks Rus. I have to admit I do not drink enough water. I will certainly try this and hopefully it helps!

  3. talk less!

    As well as the water…

    … have the participants do the talking!

    One of the principles of Brain Friendly Learning is "creation, not consumption" – have the participants create their own learning instead of giving them too much pre-prepared stuff for them to consume… because you’ll do a lot more talking when you give & they consume…

    … and the retention of the learning and the impact of what every they put to use will be higher.


    BUT – get lots more water in – they’re going to need it!





  4. Throat or voice?

    Hi Seanade,

    Yes, I agree that drinking water is the best remedy to keeping a healthy voice and healthy body.

    I would however make a difference between swollen glands and a tired voice. Swollen glands are a sign of your body fighting bugs which get into the system easily when you are tired/stressed – even if you are enjoying what you are doing, I’m sure you are pumped up with adrenalin a lot of the time, which makes the body work harder than "normal".

    So I suppose healthy eating and getting lots of sleep is the answer to that one!

    Regarding preparing the voice, yes, water, keep shoulders, neck and jaw relaxed (and rest of body too!) and do schedule breaks to give the voice a rest.

    I hope you’re feeling better!

    Pilar Orti

  5. Dry throat


    I agree with the water solution, if you will pardon the pun. The swollen glands also hints at another potential issue – I offer this cautiously as a non-medical expert – and that is swallowing a lot. This can happen for many reasons including anxiety, holding back emotions and to clear your mouth before speaking. Generally, the more at ease you are, the less this happens. Inevitably, in our business, we can be in a state of heightened alertness and on our mettle from time to time. Slowing down, speaking less and breathing more can all help. Avoid acid foods and smoking.

    Once you notice a tickle in your throat, it is best to seek a remedy sooner rather than later – take that 5 second break and have a sip of water. As an aspiring young actor I was given a good tip by an old hand: liquorice imps. These powerful little sweets work a treat, though they are not to everyone’s taste. I have also been told that black tea and honey is good for a dry throat but that, if you will pardon another pun, is not my cup of tea.

    Hope that helps


  6. The way we hold ourselves can cause stress
    Yes – water makes a huge difference. I notice that if I drink enough one day, the next morning I wake up more alert. Another possibility – and one that has helped me with everything from fatigue to headaches and trouble with my voice – is the Alexander Technique. It was developed at the turn of the century (last one, not this one) by an actor who kept losing his voice on stage. It teaches one ways to move one’s body that are more effort-less. It has taught me an enormous amount about how I cause my own discomfort by how I move and hold my body.

  7. Dairy products and the voice

    Hi Sinead

    Many singers will not consume any dairy product (containing lactose) on the day before a performance in recognition of the fact that for many people it causes a mild reaction (at least, production of mucus) in the throat, oesophagus, etc.

    I’ve been experimenting with a dairy-free diet for some months and have discovered a much greater vocal range, less irritated throat, and better hearing! There is a lot about this subject onthe internet if you’re interested.

    Good luck


  8. Singer’s trick
    I used to be a professional singer (many, many moons ago) and back then we used to use Sanderson’s throat specific for emergency throat problems. It tastes vile but does the trick. I googled it and it is still around so it is presumably still as good as it was in the olden days!

  9. Anxiety


    You have hit on one cause of dry throats/difficulty in talking,  I know several people who have had trips to doctors/hospitals because they thought they had a throat infection or worse.

    Turns out the most common cause is actually anxiety caused by stress which can cause problems with normal speech in everyday occurances let alone in a training environment.

    There are relaxing techniques that can be useful although these shouldn’t be used by anyone suffering from depression without medical advice.

    Other than that make sure you have drinking water available.

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