16 SYSTEMS OF TREATING STAMMERING
result of the action of the diaphragm; and by continued prac-
tice, interrupted by the necessary pauses, the consciousness of
directing the diaphragm at will, will slowly be attained;
lor, although the diaphragm is an involuntary muscle, yet it
can be ... partially controlled by our will.
"Now practise the exercise in an erect position; and, while
singing a tone, it will soon be perceived that (without action
of the abdominal muscles) the sounding expiration brings about
but a faint result. Now let the abdominal muscles assist;
contract them slowly, that is to say, press the abdomen inward
while exhaling (and this can be done only by means of the ab-
dominal muscles); exert a counter-pressure with the diaphragm
which slowly subsides in proportion to the degree of pressure
of the abdominal muscles, and it will be found that the ef-
fect is much stronger."
The following exercises are also frequently recom-
mended for strengthening the diaphragm and estab-
lishing consciousness of diaphragmatic action:
1. Dilate the lower part of the thorax by contracting the
diaphragm. Hold the breath, and by relaxing the diaphragm
and contracting the abdominal muscles, force the breath to the
upper part of the thorax. Now contract the diaphragm once
more and bring the breath to the lower part of the thorax.
Continue these alternate movements as long as the breath can
be comfortably retained.
2. Lie upon the back, and place several heavy books on the
abdomen. Practise diaphragmatic breathing, taking care
that the books are raised as far as possible with each inspira-
tion. Practise reading aloud, making the breathing diaphrag-
matic and attending carefully to the muscular action.
3. Place several heavy books on the chest and one compara-
tively light one on the abdomen. Now read aloud or recite,