Recover From Stuttering - Stuttering Can Be Reduced By Good Breathing

Newsletter 15: May 2011

Breathing behaviour influences stuttering. Your entire body is affected by your breathing. Each person breathes about 20 000 times per day. Is your normal breathing behaviour good or bad? Oxygen is the most vital nutrient for your body. Poor oxygen affects all parts of the body, especially the brain. Bad breathing can adversely affect you physiologically as well as psychologically. One of the most common problems is overbreathing which can cause anxiety, shortness of breath and many other symptoms. Most people have a shallow breathing cycle. You could be breathing too quickly or too slowly, not taking in enough oxygen or expelling sufficient carbon dioxide. For people who stutter (PWS), bad breathing has a major impact on their speech.

There are two main types of breathing: chest and diaphragmatic. The diaphragm is the large muscle that separates the lungs and the abdomen. To find out if you are a chest or a diaphragmatic breather, rest one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach/abdomen. Take a deep breath and observe which hand moves.

Although most people breathe from the chest, it is generally accepted that diaphragmatic breathing is better. There are two different processes of abdominal breathing:

INHALATION causes the diaphragm to expand downward, increasing the size of the chest cavity for the lungs to fill with air.

EXHALATION causes the diaphragm to rise, expelling air from the lungs.

The abdomen pushes out when you inhale and back in when you exhale.

Effective breathing improves every part of your body. Stuttering can be reduced. Good breathing means slow, deep diaphragmatic (belly) breathing through the nose with a regular rhythm. Also good posture helps the air to flow freely, thus making breathing easier.

When you're stressed, your muscles tense and breathing becomes shallow and fast. Tense muscles require more oxygen than relaxed muscles. For many people who stutter, stress and tension are regular occurrences especially when anticipating speaking situations. It is beneficial to learn to relax...your body will require less oxygen and breathing will become less strenuous. It may take many weeks to learn to relax. Discipline yourself to practise the following breathing exercise for two or more minutes at least twice every day:

Using diaphragmatic breathing, breathe in through the nose, then exhale slowly through slightly pursed lips to the count of five. Continue smoothly and rhythmically.

Relaxed Body > Better Breathing > Better Speech (Reduced Stuttering)

Your breathing pattern affects your speaking pattern. Learning to breathe correctly is an essential part of stuttering recovery. Remember to breathe well. Breathing deeply can be done anywhere, anytime. It is one of the most useful ways to relieve stress and improve speech fluency. Using good breathing in conjunction with an effective fluency technique will help PWS gain near-complete control of their stuttering.

Ezy-Speech Affirmation of the Month


I use deep diaphragmatic (belly) breathing rather than shallow chest breathing. Oxygen is the most vital nutrient for my body. Good diaphragmatic breathing helps my speech fluency.

The Ezy-Speech Team

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