Pressure profile similarities between tongue resistance training tasks and liquid swallows

Catriona M. Steele, Gemma L. Bailey, Sonja M. Molfenter, Erin M. Yeates, Karen Grace-Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Tongue-pressure resistance training is known to increase tongue strength in seniors and individuals with stroke-related dysphagia. However, evidence of associated functional improvements in swallowing is equivocal. We investigated similarities in pressure waveform profiles between swallowing and several tongue-palate pressure tasks to identify tasks that may be best suited for inclusion in tongue-pressure resistance training protocols for patients who are unable to safely perform real bolus swallows in treatment. Tongue-palate pressures were recorded in 20 healthy young adults. Participants performed water and nectar-thick juice swallows, effortful and noneffortful saliva swallows, and "half-maximum" tongue-palate partial-pressure tasks emphasizing either anterior or posterior tongue-palate contact at different speeds. Pressure slopes (amplitude change over time) during the pressure application (rise) and withdrawal (release) phases were analyzed. A subset of four tasks with the greatest similarity in slope characteristics to those seen in bolus swallows was identified: anterior-emphasis half-maximum tongue-palate presses, posterior-emphasis maximum isometric tongue-palate presses, posterior-emphasis half-maximum slow tongue-palate presses, and effortful saliva swallows. We propose that future research should explore the degree to which swallowing improvements are obtained from treatment protocols that emphasize these tasks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)651-660
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Rehabilitation Research and Development
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2010


  • Dysphagia
  • Exercise
  • Oral-motor
  • Pressure
  • Rehabilitation
  • Resistance
  • Speech-language pathology
  • Swallowing
  • Tongue
  • Tongue resistance training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation


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