Training with a counter pressure steam breathing device has the potential to improve voice quality, as revealed in a recent pilot study in Finland. A report on the study was published in Journal of Voice, a peer-reviewed publication
regarded as the world's premiere journal for voice medicine and research.
The protocol of another study, now investigating benefits of using WellO2, a unique counter pressure steam breathing device, with patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary symptoms, has been approved by the ethical committee of the University of Tampere. Both studies focus on the effects of the combination of the inspiratory and expiratory muscle training with warm steam.
Voice professionals have found help
Even before the Finnish study came out, various renown voice professionals have been using WellO2 to help with their voice problems. Among the artists is Uriah Heep’s lead singer Bernie Shaw, who has warmly endorsed WellO2 (see links, below).
The aim of the Finnish pilot study was to determine the efficacy of the 4-week breathing exercise intervention on participants with voice symptoms. Six non-smoking women, mean age 49, experiencing voice symptoms made respiratory muscle exercises for a month with counter pressure on both inspiration and expiration and with warm steam. Speech samples were acoustically measured and perceptually analyzed using the GRBAS, the grade, roughness, breathiness, asthenia and strain scale. Afterwards, perceived voice symptoms and self-reported effort in breathing and phonation were analyzed.
Participants: Breathing was significantly less effortful
The total score of the Acoustic Voice Quality Index (AVQI) and some of its subcomponents, namely shimmer and harmonic-to-noise ratio, and the perceptually evaluated grade, roughness, and strain indicated significantly improved voice quality. However, neither the nature or frequency of the experienced voice symptoms nor the perceived phonatory effort changed as the function of intervention. According to the participants, their breathing was significantly less effortful after the intervention, although no significant changes were observed in the objective respiratory measurements with a spirometer.
According to the study, training with the WellO2 device has the potential to improve voice quality. However, the effects of using WellO2 need to be confirmed by further studies with a larger number of participants, the pilot study concluded.
New studies with WellO2 and chronic obstructive pulmonary symptoms
The ethical committee of the University of Tampere recently gave a positive statement for the clinical study of WellO2 with patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary symptoms. The team is testing the effect of WellO2 device for the respiratory muscle exercises that provides counter pressure. There are several hundreds of referred studies on steam inhalation and counter pressure breathing. None have found any severe side effects for using such devices.
Patented WellO2 counter pressure steam breathing device was developed by Hapella Oy, Finland. The device has been available since 2016 as a non-medical device. Over 35 000 devices have been sold in Finland, alone. It is sold both in pharmacies and other stores, like electric commodity store chain of Elgiganten in Sweden and Elkjøp in Norway. WellO2 is available on e-commerce, also at various Amazon e-stores, e.g. in Italy and Germany.
Medical references, links & more info:
Tuomas Mattelmäki CEO, Hapella Oy
+358 400 640403
Why respiratory training is important - interview with professor Sovijärvi (podcast)
1) A screenshot of Bernie Shaw’s Youtube video
2) WellO2 device
Links and references
Effects of Humidification of the Vocal Tract and Respiratory Muscle Training in Women With Voice Symptoms—A Pilot study; Huttunen, K. and Rantala, L., Journal of Voice 2019 (in press).
University of Oulu repository
The lead singer of Uriah Heep, Bernie Shaw, on using WellO2
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