The Swallowing Method — A Rant

After you read this title, some of you might’ve been left with a question: what is the swallowing method? Well, first and foremost, it’s a

It’s just… it’s a damn lie. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let me try to properly explain.

For voice feminization, the larynx (also known as the voice box) has to be in a higher position. In fact, this is the primary aspect of voice feminization. Now, place your finger on your Adam’s Apple and swallow. You’ll notice that during the process of swallowing, the larynx rises, stops for a fraction of a second and then goes back down.

An approach that initially makes sense is to hold the larynx in its highest position, mid-swallow. So, it seems to make sense and it’s a popular method, so why do we hate it? There’s actually a couple of reasons:

  1. We’ve been swallowing since birth. When you hold the larynx mid-swallow, it will still want to rebound back down, like it always has. Trying to stop this rebound could cause overactive/unnecessary muscular engagement in a conscious attempt to stop the rebound.
  2. When you swallow, the vocal folds come together in order to prevent food or liquid from going into the lungs, which can cause overcompression at the vocal fold level. The same overcompression can happen when phonating while lifting weights or during childbirth. Speaking with overcompression can end up causing vocal fold inflammation and possibly vocal damage in the long run.
  3. When you swallow, the epiglottis (like the vocal folds) obstructs the airway to stop food and drink from entering the lungs, which is directly counterproductive to any type of voice production.

What usually happens is that, even if people know about the dangers of the swallowing method, they do it anyways because they think the big dog small dog exercise takes too long… but you’re not somehow the exception to the rule. Just do as you’re told, oh my god. We’ve seen this happen way too many times… it’s frustrating. What’s worse is that that excessive muscular tension can then find its way into your everyday life and make you feel uncomfortable all day.

In conclusion, when someone asks you what the swallowing method is, you’ll know what to say:

A special thanks to Zheanna from, whose consultation was imperative in the writing of this article!

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