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  • Writer's pictureEngage PT, OT, SLP Therapy and Wellness

The importance of a good cough... (just cover your mouth)Part 2: The Benefits of Expiratory Muscle

In last week’s post, I introduced the use of expiratory muscle strength training (specifically with the EMST-150) to improve cough strength. I have a youtube video on how to use the EMST-150. But, research shows this is not the only benefit of this type of training. Not only has it been shown to improve swallowing safety by strengthening your cough response, but it can actually help improve other mechanisms directly involved in swallowing. One such study, showed overall improved swallow function in individuals with PD and increased swallow safety. This was demonstrated by decreased aspiration/penetration scores on a video swallow study. Other studies have also had similar findings. However, the benefits of expiratory muscle strength training don’t stop there. A more recent study looked specifically at improving speech breathing in response to expiratory muscle strength training in individuals with Parkinson’s Disease (PD). Results of this study indicated that improved expiratory muscle strength helped to normalize respiratory patterns in individuals with PD. However, they also suggested that this type of intervention should be paired with other traditional speech therapy to further improve outcomes. As a SLP, I personally like to incorporate use of EMST into my therapy when providing LSVT (Lee Silverman Voice Treatment). Expiration is only one half of the equation, so stay tuned for further posts discussing the importance of inspiration.

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