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September 2019

J Speech Hear Res. 1995 Jun; 38(3): 572-8.

Results of a traditional acupuncture intervention for stuttering.

Craig AR, Kearns M.

Department of Health Services, UTS New South Wales, Australia.

It is important that researchers investigate alternative strategies for treating stuttering, as contemporary treatments are not entirely successful in reducing stuttering with all people. Furthermore, many who have been "successfully" treated suffer from high relapse rates in the long term. Acupuncture has been shown to be a promising treatment for several diverse disorders, so a pilot investigation into its effectiveness for stuttering was considered worthwhile. This study investigated traditional acupuncture-based treatments for two adult males who had stuttered since childhood. A single-case experimental ABAB multiple baseline design was employed to test for treatment effectiveness. Subjects were followed up for a further 12 weeks to evaluate maintenance (C phase) of possible improvements. No significant ABAB reversal effects were observed, and stuttering frequency through the treatment phases remained at baseline levels for the two subjects. Speech rate also remained at baseline levels throughout the treatment phases, as did naturalness of speech and anxiety levels. This research is important as claims that acupuncture may successfully reduce stuttering need to be tested, and the scope and usefulness of treatments like acupuncture for a wide variety of problems needs to be determined. However, the low subject numbers involved suggest caution in concluding acupuncture is not a successful intervention for stuttering. Perhaps alternative acupuncture points need to be evaluated and a wider variety of persons who stutter need to be involved in any future research.

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