Breathing Exercises for Stuttering

Stuttering is a type of speech disorder in which the stutterer tends to repeat a word or part of a word. Stuttering sometimes includes jaw clenching or a rapid eye blinking. Stuttering tends to be worse in public situations that create anxiety, such as giving a speech. One of the treatments for controlling stuttering is to practice breathing exercises.

A woman is taking a deep breath. (Image: AntonioGuillem/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 1

Pause before speaking. If you suffer from stuttering, you may start to feel anxious before you even being to speak. Stuttering can be made worse by a lack of oxygen mixed with anxiety. To relieve the throat or jaw tightening that accompanies this anxiety, before you start speaking, take a few seconds to breathe deeply both in and out. Begin by speaking slowly, making sure you are breathing normally while you speak.

Step 2

Focus on using your abdomen to breathe. Often times people breathe using their chest muscles which can tighten the laryngeal muscles that can cause stuttering. Practice this exercise by identifying words that often cause stuttering. Practice saying these words while breathing with your diaphragm by pushing your abdomen actively in and out with each breath. Put this into practice by using your diaphragm to breathe as you begin to speak in social situations. Diaphragmatic breathing can also lesson anxiety.

Step 3

Use regulated breathing. Regulated breathing is a therapy technique that is introduced by a speech therapist. Regulated breathing consists of awareness training, relaxation, competing response training, motivation training and generalization training. Regulated breathing attempts to inhibit stuttering by teaching a speech-related breathing pattern that is incompatible with stuttering. You should focus on regulating breathing patterns by ceasing speaking when you stutter or think about stuttering and begin diaphragmatic breathing while consciously relaxing chest and throat muscles. Then think about what you want to say, exhale slowly and then speak.

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