Speech therapy massage and articulatory gymnastics. What are they?

A system that includes manual impact and specialised exercises that develop the speech apparatus correctly and cause a stimulating effect on the brain stem structures.


What problems does this help to solve?

Many children with speech disorders have disrupted  blood supply to the brain stem structures and the innervation of the muscles of the speech apparatus. As a result, the child is unable to control the muscles that allow articulation. Sometimes the sensitivity of the child’s tongue and lips are significantly impaired, i.e. without visual control it is unable to sense the location of its tongue; the child finds it difficult to control salivation; or does not feel remains of food on its lips. This most often occurs with children diagnosed with dysarthria.

In this case speech therapy massage must precede correction of sounds and speech therapy.

The massage can start at the “collar” area (neck, shoulders, upper part of the spine), then the muscles of the face are massaged, and, if needed, the tongue can be massaged. If it is necessary, specialised equipment is used for massage.

Gradually the speech therapist will move away from massage to articulatory gymnastics, when the child is capable of independently doing exercises that strengthen muscles of the tongue, lips, cheeks and soft palate. Sometimes correction of sounds and speech therapy can take place during massage or articulatory gymnastics.

Are there any contradictions to using this?

The contradiction to performing speech therapy massage is convulsive alertness. To avoid this an electroencephalography (EEG) scan is necessary just before the massage course begins.

Speech therapy massage cannot be performed on children that have severe skin problems, furunculosis (not necessarily on the face), diseases of blood and blood vessels or oncological diseases.

Speech therapy massage is contradicted during any period of serious illness. If the child has a fever, cough or running nose, then the massage is not recommended.