Salt and Hydration

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Sethoflagos, Feb 21, 2014.

  1. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

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    Living in the tropics, this is of particular interest to me. Dehydration and salt loss can rapidly become serious issues here, even over a few short hours. Conventional wisdom is to drink frequently and take something around a teaspoonful of salt per day to replace that lost by perspiration.

    I've read in a few threads now that this can have some repercussions on trumpet performance. What exactly are the issues involved?
     
  2. Comeback

    Comeback Forte User

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    Remembering back to my days as a construction tradesperson, particularly in the summertime, I certainly agree with the conventional wisdom you referred to, Seth. As for trumpeting repercussions, though, I have little to offer. My approach is to try and maintain a reasonably healthy diet and adequate hydration, and then simply relax and play my trumpet without too much fussing. I'm probably missing something, though...
    Jim
     
  3. TrumpetMD

    TrumpetMD Fortissimo User

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    Great question. I agree that this has come up a few times on TM -- the belief that there's a correlation between hydration and optimal embouchure function.

    As a physician, I don't believe this is true. From a physiological standpoint, it's unlikely that playing the trumpet will cause any significant dehydration. Although it's possible, especially during a tough gig, under bright lights, etc. In addition, if someone was clinically dehydrated, it's unlikely that any water will re-hydrate their lips in an appreciable way (at least not in the short term).

    In fact, the opposite is might actually be true. Your lips likely have more intravascular and intersitial fluid in them simply through the act of playing the trumpet. So even if someone was dehydrated from playing the trumpet, their lips would likely not be.

    Of course, if you find a benefit from drinking water while playing, I'd continue to do it. Extra fluid can help your body expel waste products from muscle activity. And there are likely other benefits with respect to overall health and maintaining stamina during a gig. But drinking water to re-hydrate your chops may not be one of them.

    I'm open to correction on this. Where's Dr. Gary and Dr. Mark?

    Mike
     
  4. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

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    To put this in context, on an average day I'll probably get through around 8 litres of fluids, mainly tea, then beer in the evenings (water is untrustworthy). More if I'm out in the bush for any length of time.
     
  5. TrumpetMD

    TrumpetMD Fortissimo User

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    Thanks for the additional information. My reply was in the context of preventing dehydration while playing the trumpet.

    Mike
     
  6. Dr.Mark

    Dr.Mark Mezzo Forte User

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    Hi sethoflagos,
    As we well know, proper hydration is important. It is a common thought that to hydrate, one simply need to only drink water. It is believed that this can cause a problem in that the minerals (electrolytes) lost through perspiration will be diluted even more when just water is consumed.
    As for me, I'm the king of sweat. It isn't unusual for me to be soaked after a performance. Here's what I've found that works well for me. Gatorade. However, if a little salt (kosher iodized) and water works for you then I see no problem. It's a time tested method that many swear by.
    I've performed more three and four hour solo performances than I can count and what I notice is how my body feels that night or the next day. If I just hydrate with water, there's a good chance I'll be cramping up later. Gatorade (or similar sports drink) seems to reduce this greatly.
    One of the best ways to check for dehydration is to be concious of the color of the urine.
    Hope this helps
    Dr.Mark
     
  7. robrtx

    robrtx Mezzo Forte User

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  8. shooter

    shooter Piano User

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    I'm with Dr. Mark on this. If your pee is yellow, drink up.
    I have a problem early in the morning with my lips not being supple enough to get around in the upper register. Nothing wakes the body better than a cup o' joe and a glass of water.
     
  9. TrumpetMD

    TrumpetMD Fortissimo User

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    Maybe 10 years from now, when someone is reading this thread, they won't understand my next comment. But here 2014, the term "wrecking ball" make me snicker just a little. :-) (I'd post a video as a teaser, but I don't think there are any G-rated ones out there.)

    Back to the blog post. The BE approach is helpful to some. But to me, it seems to be tied to certain pseudo-science theories. You can find some of this in the first half of the BE manual. And it appears that there is some in this blog post, too. For example, the suggestion that ibuprofen can treat dystonia, and other anecdotal observations.

    In general, I'm not sure about experimenting with (and dependence on?) herbals and over-the-counter meds to enable someone to play the trumpet. But I agree that lips can swell from certain medical conditions and from improper trumpet playing. See your doctor for the former. Talk to your trumpet teacher about the latter. And back to the OP, I think lip swelling is more of an issue for trumpet players than the lips being dehydrated.

    Mike
     
  10. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

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    Okay, I'll name names. Both Rowuk and VB have commented on salty foods having an impact on their playing. My question would be that if your salt intake is balanced by your water intake, why would there be a problem?
     

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