A woman writes in with concern over her 43-year-old husband's croaky voice. It's been that way for five years and was brought on by a particularly stressful time. Medical investigations have revealed nothing wrong in the ear, nose and throat department but he did have an H. pylori stomach infection. However, the stomach infection has cleared, but the croaky voice remains. He's fit and healthy, drinks moderately, but smokes and does almost no exercise. He also gets easily stressed, but is not good at alleviating this. He's tried speech therapy. Could there be a dietary/allergy approach, or alternative therapies that would help? First he needs to make sure he stays well hydrated, with plenty of water. There are many effective herbal remedies, and "Throat Coat" tea from Traditional Medicinals was actually used in the 1996 Presidential campaign. It seemed to work for Clinton and Dole, but obviously better for one than the other. Slippery elm is another great throat herb, as well as thyme and blackberry tea. Herbs by Ricola and Olbas are often recommended. There is also a condition called dysphonia (like a spontaneous loss of voice), which may have a nervous component. Whatever the cause, a good natural gargle is probably warranted. The Alexander Technique is also recommended - it's good for both stress and voice problems. The more orthodox route is to find a Bel Canto Singing Teacher and have voice lessons. One reader believes your husband is having problems expressing himself and expects that there is an imbalance in his chakras, particularly his throat chakra. He may also have other issues in connection with that particular area of his body. Is his thyroid functioning correctly? Investigate hypothyroidism and do not be put off if tests come back as normal. If there is associated fatigue, coldness of extremities and a slowing of mental activity, he might want to read The Great Thyroid Scandal and How to Avoid It by Dr. Barry Durrant Peatfield. Does he have any other parasites apart from H. pylori? His croaky voice is a physical manifestation of this. Smoking will probably add to the stress on his voice box and may be his unconscious protection from expressing himself; it is probably a symptom, not the cause of this problem. A kinesiologist will be able to test all of his issues and treat him holistically: his mind, body and spirit as well as his nutritional needs. For a list of registered kinesiologists, see http://www.kinesiologyfederation.org/.
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