Diaphragmatic-intercostal breathing and the occurrence of gastroesophageal reflux disease in singers
Jacobs-du Plessis, Beverley
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This article was inspired by our awareness of an increasing number of voice students and professional singers who specialize in Western art music and who present with symptoms relating to gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD). In our attempts to understand this phenomenon, we began questioning the relationship between diaphragmatic-intercostal breathing (DIB) and the occurrence of GERD. This study uses two of the methods by which qualitative research can be done, namely literature reviews and case studies. The results of the literature review show that the way in which the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) functions during DIB has direct bearing on the possible movement of gastric acids via the esophagus into the pharynx and the larynx. Acknowledging the fact that we are not medical experts, we then used the data from the case studies to suggest how singers might adjust their life styles in order to restrict or prevent occurrences of GERD.