Breathing exercises

What are breathing exercises?

Breathing exercises are commonly used in speech and language therapy for individuals who have difficulties with the volume of their voice and those who find it difficult to sequence and coordinate breathing, voice and articulation in order to gain effective speech.

Breathing exercises can be highly beneficial when combined with speech and voice exercises in helping an individual to become a more effective communicator.

Breathing exercises are also effective in helping both children and adults who stutter.

Breathing exercises are a range of specialised exercises used to improve and control breathing which is a vital mechanism for effective speech.

Effective speech relies on an individual’s ability to control and sequence their breathing, voicing and articulation at the same time. If there is a breakdown in the control and sequencing of this speech act, this may result in the individual not being able to communicate effectively.

Breathing exercises can involve a variety of exercises which will vary depending on the type of speech and language difficulty they are helping and also the severity of the difficulty.

The therapist will work with the patient in a step by step manner working at their pace and abilities. The general aim of therapy will be to increase an individual’s control over their breathing, with the ability to control and sequence breathing, voicing and articulation at the same time.

Breathing exercises will initially focus on teaching individuals how to control their breathing. Controlled breathing may then be used with voice exercises e.g. sustaining an ‘ahhh’ sound. The therapist will then introduce using breathing with speech sounds, syllables, sentences, paragraphs and conversation.

Other breathing exercises may include compensatory strategies for individuals who tire easily when speaking. Exercises may focus on teaching the individual to slow down their pace of speech and inserting pauses where necessary.

Deep breathing exercises may also be practised with individuals who stutter.

reathing exercises can be used for a variety of speech and language difficulties. There are many different types of breathing exercises, most of which will be combined with speech and voice exercises. Each therapy programme will be tailored to the individual’s specific needs and abilities.

What are the benefits of breathing exercises?

Breathing exercises can benefit patients with neurological, voice and communication problems. Breathing exercises can also benefit adults who have head and neck cancer, have a speech disorder or those who stammer.

The main benefit of breathing exercises is helping the individual to communicate more effectively. Breathing exercises may also increase a patient's self-esteem and confidence when communicating with others and may improve communication functions and the patient's quality of life.


Breathing exercises are a range of specialised exercises used to improve and control breathing, which is a vital mechanism for effective speech and communication. Speech and language therapy will provide the individual with tailor made exercises to suit their specific needs and abilities. Breathing exercises prove most effective when used with voice and speech exercises.

If you feel you may benefit from speech and language therapy or would like any more information on our services please email or call 0330 088 5643.

Related pages

One to one therapy Articulation therapy Augmentative and alternate communication Breathing exercises Compensatory strategies Constraint induced aphasia therapy Lee Silverman voice treatment Oesophaegeal voice training Oral-motor exercises Picture exchange communication system Total communication approach Voice therapy
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