Thursday, January 27, 2011

Feel More Fabulous: Use a Humidifier!

Everything’s better when wet!
proclaims Steve Miller in his '70's rock classic JUNGLE LOVE. Steve is right on so many levels. That goes double for the air in your environment too. Has winter got you wheezing, coughing and flaking? Don’t know what to do about it? Here are some suggestions on how to survive winter and come out the other end completely fabulous!

Get yourself the best humidifier you can afford & run it all winter long!”
These sage words of advice come courtesy of my longtime friend and vocal guru Doug S. Winter’s indoor heating dries out your mucus membranes and makes you more susceptible to sinus infections, colds, and General Malaise and nobody likes him. In towns like Chicago, the tap water has lots of minerals in it. That’ll shorten the lifespan of your humidifier. To prevent that we use distilled water. 

Notice to you musicians who don’t run a humidifier in winter: you're not just hurting yourself, you’re practicing unnecessary cruelty to your axes! If you’re a singer, like me, you need to keep a moist throat to prevent laryngitis. Singing with a dry throat can lead to glottal nodes or calluses that build up on your vocal chords. The only way to get rid of them is surgery &/or silence! Be it your voice, guitar, drums or piano, do them a favor and keep it moist. Non musicians, your body & wood furniture will thank you for the humidity.

If your town has an indoor garden, or even a greenhouse, visit it regularly!
When I was a kid growing up in Milwaukee they built these three wonderful geodesic domes based on designs by Buckminster Fuller. They populated them with gardens, one tropical, one arid & the third had seasonal flowers. My mom would take us for weekly pilgrimages to “the Domes” in the winter and she always had an incredible complexion. Visiting a garden really lifts your spirits and you’ll find your head is clearer too.

If you’re on the road hotel rooms are notoriously dry.
Working the plains states of the US & Canada I developed strategies for protecting my most valuable asset. If you’re in town more than one night look around for a health club/gym that has a steam room. I try to find one in every town, get a day or week pass, depending on the length of my engagement and use it. Working out while touring actually gives you more energy for your show and the 10 minutes in the steam room is priceless.

Make your own steam room!If that’s not an option you can turn on the hot water in your hotel bathroom and fill it with steam. Then go sit in there for 15 minutes. When you get back after your gig wet the hotel hand towels and drape them over the heater before you retire. Put a shoe on em to hold them in place or the heater will blow them on the floor and they do you no good there.

Another thing to try is a vaporizer.
Frankly, I don't know the difference between a humidifier and a vaporizer. They both put water into the air, but some vaporizers have a spot where you can add eucalyptus or essential oil to take that “cheap motel” smell out of your air. I have one I keep in the van for dry hotel rooms. Try running it in the room you sleep in and see how much better you feel after a night of tropical moisture!