Yoga: Potential Benefits for Persons Who Stutter

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Yoga has been demonstrated to modulate autonomic nervous system activity, decreasing anxiety and stress, and improving quality of life. This preliminary study sought to examine the use of yogic techniques on persons who stutter given the interaction between physiological arousal/anxiety and stuttering that current multifactorial models of stuttering propose. Four participants (M = 52 yr, SD = 10; 2 female, 2 male), recruited from local stuttering support groups in the greater Philadelphia community volunteered to participate. Stuttering severity, anxiety, and experiences regarding stuttering and communication were measured at baseline, post intervention, and at 4 months follow-up. The participants attended group yoga sessions and engaged in home practice. Descriptive results revealed that participants showed improvements across outcome measures, with the most improvement related to anxiety. Participants also reported improvements in their perceptions about communication as per qualitative analysis of responses to the open-ended questionnaires. The results suggest the potential benefits of yoga for persons who stutter and warrants further study using an experimental design.

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