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Swallowing Exercises

fishmanpa's picture
Posts: 1178
Joined: Jan 2013

I posted this for Susan but it's good info for all. Given to me by my Speech/Language Pathologist at Johns Hopkins. If it's not [art of the Superthread, perhaos it can be added.



Swallowing Exercises


Falsetto Phonation or “Sirening”

Make a siren noise from a low pitch to a high pitch. Use a “ng” sound. Hold the pitch for 2-3 seconds. Repeat 10X, 3 sets, twice daily.


Masako Maneuver

Protrude tongue slightly between your front teeth. Hold tongue in this position by bearing down gently with your teeth. Swallow while keeping tongue protruded. Use this technique several times daily when swallowing your own secretions (water if you have no saliva). Repeat 10X, 3 sets, twice daily.


Effortful Swallow

Keep your mouth closed and the tip of your tongue elevated to your palate. Swallow as strong as you can, focusing on squeezing with your throat muscles (like you have something stuck in your throat and you have to get it down), repeat 10X, 3 sets, twice daily.


Mendelsohn Maneuver


Place fingers gently on your neck to feel how the larynx/voice box rises when you swallow. When you feel your larynx rise to it’s highest point, try to hold the larynx in an elevated position for 5 seconds. Repeat 10X, 3 sets, twice daily.

sin9775's picture
Posts: 198
Joined: May 2013

Thank you so much for passing this along.  I assume my brother is getting some exercises to do, but I passed them along to him anyway.  I figured it couldn't hurt!  Now if only he will do them.  Undecided



D Lewis's picture
D Lewis
Posts: 1570
Joined: Jan 2010

Ever since taste came back, my favorite swallowing exercise was to choke down bits of my most favorite sourdough bread.  Over time, the bits have gotten larger, and the butter and oil required to get it down have diminished.  ;)


phrannie51's picture
Posts: 4266
Joined: Mar 2012

The second I swallow my larynx lowers itself....LOL.  I'm going to put these in my favorites....who knows if down the road swallowing might become an issue....


Hondo's picture
Posts: 6295
Joined: Apr 2009

 These are the same exercises I was doing when taking electro stimulation trying to get my swallowing back. But it was too late for me Radiation the gift that keeps on giving just killed the mussels, I  guess is was due to having it twice.  



Duggie88's picture
Posts: 650
Joined: Feb 2010

Thanks for posting this should be very useful for many. They never told me about many of these.


fishmanpa's picture
Posts: 1178
Joined: Jan 2013

Yes, these are very difficult, especially if your swallowing has been compromised. But in all seriousness, DO THEM! If you can't do 3 sets of ten reps no worries, Start out slow, doing less and build up to it. Your swallowing muscles are no different than any other muscles. You'r not going to hit the gym and do 3 sets of ten bench press right?  Start with 1 set of 5 or whatever you can do and work you way up but keep on doing them. 

I can tell you that they've helped me. While I still have some swallowing issues, I've improved substantially since the memorial Day weekend when I started eating solids again.

Now... if they only had exercised for saliva glands......




Grandmax4's picture
Posts: 639
Joined: Dec 2011

to add to "T's" list, take a small sip of water, tuck chin down to chest, hold your breath,swallow,cough sharply, swallow again~~I do all the exercises listed, they were all given to me during my speech therpy, OSU Wexner Cancer Center, calls it speech therpy, but it covers so much..swallowing, voice,speaking, etc~~my voice and swallowing are near normal, but I still do the exercises


Skiffin16's picture
Posts: 8264
Joined: Sep 2009

T, there was a link to an old post on the SuperThread that was labeld Swallowing Exercises. But it didn't really have much value compared to yours... So I updated the SuperThread with a link to your post, labeled;



fishmanpa's picture
Posts: 1178
Joined: Jan 2013

Thanks John! Pay it forward right?


Skiffin16's picture
Posts: 8264
Joined: Sep 2009

You got it bro....


CivilMatt's picture
Posts: 3417
Joined: May 2012

Hi “T”,

I find swallowing in general an exercise and eating and drinking even more so.  Small bites and plenty of liquids.  Currently, my days of grabbing a bag of chips and chowing down (without liquids) is over, or fool hearted.

I am not sure how much it helped to force myself to swallow throughout treatments, but that’s what I read to do and I did it (thank you H&N 12/11 – 3/12). 

It is a good list “T”, very few come out of the H&N requirements unscathed.  Before cancer I took eating for granted (let alone swallowing), not anymore.

Keep singing and slurping & swallowing.


fishmanpa's picture
Posts: 1178
Joined: Jan 2013

Hey Matt,

I'm 12 weeks post this coming week and while I still have swallowing issues, I'm seeing progress. I just had a BLT on a soft potato roll and while I need my water, I was actually able to swallow quite a few bites with out it. Drinking water and shakes etc. is effortless now. Seven weeks ago I couldn't drink more than one sip at a time and now I can down a bottle with no problem. That helps when the pills get stuck in my throat which they still do due to the pocket in the back of my throat from the biopsies. It's better than it was but it's still an issue.

Eating still is work and my jaw gets tired from chewing but there is a noticable difference. I still can't do meats (beef) as they're too fibrous but small pieces of chicken are Ok. 

At any rate I still do the exercises as much as I can and I do feel they've helped I'll know for sure on the 6th of August when I go to JH. I see my SLP for a swallow study and then it's bloodwork and then my RO for a scope and exam. I''ll be seeing my MO on the 9th. First post Tx PET will be later in August. I'm waiting on the appointment confirmation. 

I'm hoping to get to the point of grabbing anything out of the pantry or fridge and eating away. I may or may not happen but I'm sure as hell gonna try! 

Hang in there and keep on working those swallow muscles!



jackflash22's picture
Posts: 473
Joined: Aug 2013

to anyone who has a problem with swallowing pills buy a pill crusher, I use mine all the time and mix with water.


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