Stuttering as a mindbody disorder – basic information
(This is the basic info document from my "Stuttering as a mindbody disorder" Facebook group, which can be joined HERE. )
What is a mindbody disorder?Modern views of mindbody disorders are based on the pioneering work of Dr John Sarno, MD (1923-). According to him, many ailments that are usually regarded as physical have their origin in the subconscious mind. This is actually a very old idea with a long tradition; but with the phenomenal rise and great successes of scientific medicine in the 20th century the concept of psychosomatic disorders, which in the 1940s was still an accepted part of medical studies, generally fell in disfavour within the medical establishment.
1) Some kind of stress or tension.
2) A spasm or cramp in the affected area, resulting in pain (e.g. back pain) or other disturbance. Dr Sarno believes that these spasms (often muscle spasms) are caused by slight hypoxia (reduction of oxygen) within the affected area and that the subconscious creates this hypoxia via the central nervous system. Is it far-fetched to think that this also happens to the muscles of the vocal cords of people who stutter? In this connection I refer to the work of Dr Martin F. Schwartz, who has devoted a great deal of his life to the hypothesis that stuttering is preceded by a tension-related "locking" or "freeze" of the vocal-cord muscles.
What is the cause of a mindbody disorder?
How is TMS treated?
Can all this help people who stutter?
Having said that, he does approve the limited use of painkillers when necessary in the case of e.g. severe back pain. I would say it's up to the stuttering individual whether to use fluency techniques or not if this makes life easier; but always keeping in mind that such techniques merely provide symptomatic relief and do not address the true cause. The same probably goes for other adjuncts such as stress management and stress-reducing supplements. These are helpful where the stress is from other sources not related to TMS; but where stress results from TMS it is the TMS which should in the first place be tackled.