Alternative, Integrative, or Complementary Medicine and Stuttering

Hello, I’m a first year grad student studying Communication Sciences and Disorders. In class, I am learning about differing trains of thought and practice in regards to therapy, which is presented as being on a continuum between stuttering modification and fluency shaping. It seems there has been a gradual paradigm shift away from pure clinical observation and treatment of overt stuttering behaviors towards therapy that acknowledges the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of people who stutter, who are active in their own therapy and part of a dynamic team of family members and professionals. Given this paradigm shift, I was wondering if there has been any scientific research on stuttering therapy using alternative, complementary, or integrative pathways?

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Alternative, Integrative, or Complementary Medicine and Stuttering — 1 Comment

  1. Your question is interesting and deserves a lot more study.

    The first question that needs to be addressed is how one defines “alternative, integrative, or complementary medicine”. The NIH has an excellent page that explains it well (https://nccih.nih.gov/health/integrative-health). If one looks for alternative medicine in the treatment of stuttering I can found two articles on stuttering and acupuncture twenty years apart. The more recent one (2015) is really “complementary medicine since it combines speech therapy and “laser” acupuncture.

    There is 1995 case study on the use of acupuncture that found no lasting results on stuttering, but suggests more research with more people needs to be done. Ashley R. Craig and Maree Kearns Results of a Traditional Acupuncture Intervention for Stuttering Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 1995, Vol. 38, 572-578. doi:10.1044/jshr.3803.572 (http://jslhr.pubs.asha.org/article.aspx?articleid=1783669)

    In our field, treating stuttering has used “complementary medicine” for a long time with guided imagery (e.g. relaxation) and more recently combining therapy with mind and body practices, etc. (https://nccih.nih.gov/taxonomy/term/362). An interesting example is in a peer-reviewed online journal by multiple authors from various departments in the School of Rehabilitation Sciences, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences in Iran “Determining the effect of laser acupuncture in treating stutterers in comparison with speech therapy”, Adv Biomed Res. 2015; 4: 8. Published online 2015 Jan 6. doi: 10.4103/2277-9175.148290 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4300594/) They found that with their cases, treating stuttering which included “laser acupuncture” created positive results. Some of the information in the article concluded that “Since the stuttering is associated with stress and anxiety, therefore by reducing anxiety, it decreases the rate of stuttering” and “can be effective significantly in reducing the rate of speech (SPM) and reducing the incidence of stuttering in spoken syllables (SS%)”

    I predict that the recent ASHA initiative of our collaborating with professionals trained and credentialed in other disciplines will produce a lot more research. Maybe your interests will make you one of those future researchers!