I receive many email inquiries from all over the world about spasmodic dysphonia. They are always a reminder of how bad my vocal spasms were in the past. Not a time I ever want to revisit. Spasmodic dysphonia and voice disorders are no laughing matter!
According to the medical system, spasmodic dysphonia is a neurological disorder affecting the voice muscles in the larynx, or voice box. In spasmodic dysphonia, the muscles inside the vocal folds experience sudden involuntary movements—called spasms—which interfere with the ability of the folds to vibrate and produce sound. Spasmodic dysphonia causes voice breaks and can give the voice a tight, strained quality. There were times when I felt like there was a tight grasp around my neck preventing my speech.
Dysarthria is a motor speech disorder caused by a neurological injury or disease and it can affect one or more of the speech subsystems – respiration, phonation, resonance, prosody, articulation. Injury or disease to the speech musculature may also cause dysarthric like symptoms. When the part of the brain that controls speech production is damaged, the link from the brain to the muscles of speech is affected.
Damage, malfunction and interference from various sources (body pollution, drugs, stress hormones, etc.) in the areas of the brain and body responsible for speech and vocalization can all trigger vocal spasms and other voice dysfunction. Neurotoxins found in foods, water, air and personal care products (e.g. fragrances), household (laundry, fabric softeners, air fresheners), industrial and lawn and garden products can cause triggering of vocal spasms. Toxins and other factors can damage or remove the protective myelin from areas of the nervous system making it more vulnerable to stress and other factors leading to triggering. How do you repair damaged myelin? There are many emerging possibilities. I share what I used in my protocol available below.
The diagrams below of the cortical homunculus, a neurological ‘map’, is a physical representation of the human body, located within the brain. You can see the areas of the brain representation responsible for vocalization.
Broca’s and Wernicke’s area’s of the brain are also involved in speech. http://thebrain.mcgill.ca/flash/a/a_10/a_10_cr/a_10_cr_lan/a_10_cr_lan.html
I was diagnosed with spasmodic dysphonia in 2001 and again in 2012 after laryngoscopic investigation. Both times I was offered botox injectons as treatment. Both times I turned down the offer. Botox is a drug made from a toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. It’s the same toxin that causes a life-threatening type of food poisoning. After spending years recovering from environmental illness issues caused by environmental toxins I was not about to allow any dangerous substances to be injected into my body. Besides that, there was no guarantee the treatment would work, and I was told I would loose my voice for about a week each time and would have to repeat the treatment about every 3 to 4 months.
As a holistic wellness practitioner I had researched and tried many strategies in my quest to restore my health and repair my voice. I gained improvement from these strategies, but when I went through a period of extreme stress during my husband’s cancer struggle and subsequent death – my voice again became very strangled.
In September of 2012, I completed one series of non-surgical voice repair lessons for spasmodic dysphonia with Diana Yampolsky at the Royan’s Professional Vocal School in Toronto. Diana’s approach combines special exercises with natural herbal remedies and customized variations of NLP (neurolinguistic programming), which she specifically developed and incorporated in her Vocal Science Method to change the body’s faulty voice response. I practicing the vocal exercises for a period of time after. I noticed that I had less spasms as a result. The biggest bonus for me was that I was able to sing (not well) Christmas carols at church on Christmas Eve 2012. I hadn’t been able to join in the singing at church because of my previously ‘strangled voice’. This was a small gain for me I had a lot more work to do to eliminate the spasms.
During times of stress, nervousness and fatigue – especially on the phone – my voice continued to break up and spasm at times. Chemical stressors, environmental and contributing emotional stressors were the original cause of my vocal challenges..
I developed a holistic protocol of the steps that I used that brought me improvements. I added customized visualizations to ‘right’ the wrongs that may be present in spasmodic dysphonia. You need to understand the power of visualization to understand how these can help you. You can find that science based information here. I have also used correcting energy treatments that I have developed. The five correcting body scan visualizations designed to correct what may be underlying in cases of spasmodic dysphonia and voice disorders, can be found in The Whole Person Well-being Equation.
I continue to use stress management strategies ongoing to maintain balance, crucial to averting spasms and triggering.
Managing triggers was an ongoing challenge as I noticed environmental factors as well as anxiety could trigger spasms. Although anxiety is not the cause of spasmodic dysphonia it can trigger spasms. Electromagnetic energy from phones seemed to be real triggers for me for a long time. I used various strategies to stop my body from triggering. You can read about some of these in my blog post UPDATING OUTDATED BODY SOFTWARE: For Symptom Free Living – http://mybodycanhealitself.ca/wordpress/?p=1773. I provide instructions and support to help clients with this in the options I offer at the end of this post.
In the summer of 2014 I started to use 100% pure therapeutic grade essential oils in an attempt to resolve the remaining vulnerabilities of my voice and associated anticipatory anxiety. The pure essential oils are third party certified, the only ones I would use therapeutically. I applied an essential oil blend to my sternum area, diaphragm, vocal cord reflexology points on my hands and feet and throat at bedtime and in the morning. I also did this before I knew that I am going to speak at an event. I diffused an essential oil blend into the air at night and at times during the day. I noticed a great improvement in the consistency of my voice and calming effect after using the essential oils. Anticipatory anxiety becomes a contributing factor to triggering spasms.
I have come a long way using a variety of strategies in my journey to restore my voice. It has been a long struggle and I expect nothing less than complete voice recovery, voice consistency and dependability. I you expect the same results that I have achieved – start with my holistic protocol in my book.
My message to you – don’t give up – don’t let a diagnosis or prognosis (‘there is no cure’) cause you to lose hope or waiver in your quest for symptom relief and recovery. More is always possible and possible is ‘doable’ by you!
Expect more! Do not settle! You may need to implement a series of paradigm shifts.
IMPORTANT UPDATE – February 11, 2015:
Although anxiety and nervousness are not the cause of spasmodic dysphonia, both can trigger vocal spasms. This is one of the challenges that those with the condition and other voice disorders deal with on a daily basis. Public speaking is often an overwhelming challenge as a result.
As a holistic wellness practitioner I work one on one with clients. I have often been asked to do talks about health related topics. Sometimes I have accepted these invites and in recent years speaking at these events has always resulted in my body mounting skewed vocal responses and spasms, and feeling embarrassed. I now know that anticipatory anxiety was one of my triggers.
I made a decision a long time ago that I was going to get my body to cure my spasmodic dysphonia, just as I got it to cure my depression, multiple food allergies and multiple chemical sensitivities. That was despite the fact that I was told that there was no cure for any of my diagnosed conditions, including spasmodic dysphonia.
Yesterday I taught a scheduled workshop that I was determined to do to a group of women interested in natural beauty. The event was to be held at the home of a client. When I woke up yesterday morning I felt nervous about my decision and the upcoming workshop. I decided to use a custom blend of essential oil on my sternum/mid chest area (the place in my body where I feel my anxiety and nervousness rise). I applied it every 15 minutes throughout the morning. Although I felt slightly calmer, my chest was reacting with nervousness, resulting in uneasy vocal comfort. I had great apprehension about teaching the workshop, fearing my voice would go into spasms.
I was on route to the workshop location and stopped to see my mother at the nursing home. She was experiencing a headache and asked me about relief. I would usually pull a bottle of peppermint oil out of my purse for headaches but could not find it. I had another oil that is the second choice so I pulled it out and applied it to my mom’s neck on the side where she was experiencing her headache. As I applied the oil with my fingers I felt the nervousness in my chest subside.
I left the nursing home and reapplied the oils. Within 15 minutes the feeling of nervousness and anxiety melted completely from my chest. When I arrived at the workshop site I spent two hours setting up and getting organized, feeling quite in control and calm – no apprehension. I reapplied the oils to my chest area before workshop participants arrived. I felt no nervousness or anxiety welcoming participants. I felt no apprehension.
After being introduced I started my presentation – WITHOUT EXCESS ANXIETY, APPREHENSION OR NERVOUSNESS – AND ABSOLUTELY NO UNCONTROLLABLE SPASMS. Throughout the 4 1/2 hours of presentation and question and answers, I had absolutely no vocal cord spasms. This had been my ultimate goal for so long – to be able to speak publicly comfortably without uncontrollable vocal spasms. Although this may not seem like a big deal; for a person diagnosed with spasmodic dysphonia or a voice disorder, public speaking can be a huge challenge. This had been a ongoing challenge for me for years. Last night I mastered that challenge by reaping the amazing effects of therapeutic essential oils in combination with my holistic spasmodic dysphonia protocol. And yes, there are still days that I may experience some vocal challenges – the good news is that it is seldom now and I can usually manage those challenges equipped with a supply of natural strategies. Speaking at workshops and on the phone are no longer spasm provoking challenges. I only use the essential oils for spasms when needed now. The body has an amazing ability to heal – with the right direction and supports. The main focus of oil usage is now to deal with any anticipatory anxiety which I am sure those who have suffered from the condition can relate to.
If you suffer from spasmodic dysphonia or other vocal disorders and the nervousness and anxiety that accompany those conditions, consider adding 100% pure doterra essential oils in your quest to become symptom free and master your public speaking goals.
The essential oils alone are not ‘a cure all’.
The oils will help with symptoms but you must deal with the underlying contributing factors to your condition at the same time if you expect to achieve the same results that I have achived.
If you want to get started on your recovery, start where I did, with the detailed steps in my holistic protocol. You can find the link to my book at http://www.mybodycanhealitself.ca/what_people_are_saying.htm
Learn more about using third party certified 100% pure doterra therapeutic grade oils to add to my Spasmodic Dysphonia – working with a diagnosis, below.
Please review my option below. I have many inquiries from all over the world asking me which oils I used. Every person is unique and as such there is an experimenting process required using a variety of oils to see which mix works best for you. If you expect to achieve the results that I spoke about previously in this post you will also have to implement my holistic protocol at the same time.
PLEASE NOTE (this is updated information – October 1, 2017):
The following are the only optiosn that I now provide and I only work directly with the client with the condition. I offer the following program to assist you in achieving ‘symptom free status’. I receive many inquires asking ‘what oils did I use’. Oils are a support that can be added on to my holistic protocol. Review the information below carefully before you email me.
PLEASE NOTE: My Spasmodic Dysphonia, Working with a Diagnosis Protocol is not an essential oils protocol that can be mentored by a wellness advocate. The protocol is a holistic protocol that is mentored by me, a holistic wellness practitioner, working directly with the client. You will not find the expertise needed to mentor you through spasmodic dysphonia from a wellness advocate who has not experience the condition.
The essential oils alone are not ‘a cure all’ they are a part of a ‘recipe’. Without my holistic protocol you will not achieve my results.
Start with my holistic protocol which can be found in my book. You can find it here.
Email Consultation – for working with a spasmodic dysphonia diagnosis.
I provide an email consultation to review your medical history, diet (detailed), personal care products, work and home environments for potential contributing factors.
I provide you with detailed recommendations to get you started on implementing the changes required including added supports.
Once you have reviewed the information and implemented my recommendations you can send me your questions and I will answer them.
Fee for this service is $150 CAN – you will be invoiced in advance via Paypal where you can use your credit card.
Customized Holistic Program for working with a spadmodic dysphonia diagnosis.
This includes many strategies including detoxification, mind body healing, correcting strategies, diet and other natural strategies that have helped me and my clients to achieve their well-being goals.
- You will be required to purchase The Whole Person Well-being Equation book which is a companion to the Spasmodic Dysphonia program. Following my holistic protocol is required to achieve the results that I have. Proof of purchase will be required before the program is emailed to you.
- Email mentoring (one email per month recommended) during your active initial one year membership to deal with the ups and downs and roadblocks that can be a part of the recovery.
- Diet & lifestyle review.
- Medical history review.
- Email mentoring (one email per month recommended) during your active initial one year membership to deal with the ups and downs and roadblocks that can be a part of the recovery.
- Wholesale doterra essential oil membership and initial first order submitted for you (approximately $300 wholesale US). This selection of oils to be used for your essential oil therapy will be based on the personal information that you provide me and my detailed protocol for working with a spasmodic dysphonia.
- It can be a challenge for me to offer the one year mentoring using doterra oils when people are using other types of oils or doterra oils purchased through amazon or other people which are sold for much cheaper but are suspected to be adulterated. I only mentor people in my program if they use the doterra essential oils purchased through me, as that is what I have used. If you already have a doterra membership, you can use it to reorder additional oils, which you will need, after you have used the initial oils. In this case a retail order will be submitted through my program. The retail cost of the program including initial oils will be approximately $450 US)
Included are my complimentary ‘stop, start and change’ protocol with reflexology chart of the hands and feet with marked points for vocal cords for you to use when applying the oils. It also includes information on the accu-points associated with the meridian that controls speech. I am available to mentor/coach you through the ‘ups and downs’ or road blocks you may experience on your journey to symptom free status ongoing; via email during your initial one year wholesale membership(one email per month recommended).
Contact me to get started firstname.lastname@example.org.
SPASMODIC DYSPHONIA RESEARCH UPDATE:
This research may provide further understanding into the cause of spasmodic dysphonia. https://www.dysphonia.org/clinical-trials.php
A new study is enrolling in San Francisco: Timing of Neural Activity in Spasmodic Dysphonia – Researchers John Houde, PhD, Srikantan S. Nagarajan, PhD, Katherine Yung, MD, and colleagues are seeking volunteers to participate in spasmodic dysphonia research study. The main objective of this research is to determine how spasmodic dysphonia of the voice affects brain activity during speaking using state-of-the-art noninvasive neuroimaging techniques. In this study, we seek to determine how spasmodic dysphonia (SD) of the voice affects brain activity during speaking.
Elisabeth Hines, C.N.C., C.B.P., Holistic Wellness Practitioner, Health by Design, www.mybodycanhealitself.ca
ESSENTIAL OIL THERAPY FOR SYMPTOM RELIEF: Skip Harmful Drug Side Effects For Healthy Longevity – http://mybodycanhealitself.ca/wordpress/?p=1380
BELIEVE: Your Most Powerful Well-being Tool – http://mybodycanhealitself.ca/wordpress/?p=793.
AN OUT OF BALANCE NERVOUS SYSTEM: The Possible Root of Your Symptoms – http://mybodycanhealitself.ca/wordpress/?p=1367
STRESS IDLING: A Modern Day Health Challenge – http://mybodycanhealitself.ca/wordpress/?p=1115
GOD’S MEDICINE CABINET: Stocked to Heal What Ails You – http://mybodycanhealitself.ca/wordpress/?p=1425
WORKSHOPS & EVENTS: http://mybodycanhealitself.ca/wordpress/?page_id=1683
Elisabeth Hines, Holistic Wellness Practitioner, www.mybodycanhealitself.ca
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