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The evidence for laryngeal manual therapies in the treatment of muscle tension dysphonia

Mathieson, Lesley

Current Opinion in Otolaryngology & Head and Neck Surgery: June 2011 - Volume 19 - Issue 3 - p 171–176
doi: 10.1097/MOO.0b013e3283448f6c
Speech therapy and rehabilitation: Edited by Paul Carding

Purpose of review Clinicians involved in treating patients with voice disorders are showing an increasing interest in manual therapies aimed at reducing excessive tension in the perilaryngeal area. Studies investigating the effects of this treatment have been appearing in the literature since the early 1990s, but the evidence base remains extremely small. The purpose of this review is to provide the reader with current information about the types of laryngeal manual therapy in clinical use internationally and the evidence base for their use.

Recent findings The results of studies undertaken recently reinforce the results of earlier studies, most of which have been conducted using individuals with muscle tension dysphonia. The various types of laryngeal manual therapy have all been shown to have positive effects.

Summary There is evidence that laryngeal manual therapy, in various forms, can be a useful primary intervention in cases of muscle tension dysphonia, although this is based on very few studies. A higher level of evidence is required, including randomized controlled trials, to investigate its role in comparison with other interventions. Studies are also needed to verify or refute the clinical observation that it is also an effective treatment for all voice disorders, including those of organic aetiology, when phonatory hyperfunction is a feature.

The Ear Institute, University College London, UK

Correspondence to Lesley Mathieson, FRCSLT, Speech and Language Therapy Department, Royal National Throat Nose and Ear Hospital, Gray's Inn Road, London WC1X 8DA, UK Tel: +44 1494 762263; e-mail:

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.