My students and I became intrigued by the fact that some people who really wanted to swallow large capsules with nutrients in them simply could not do it.
Together we developed a new method of teaching pill swallowing based on head position, and conducted four studies to demonstrate that the new method is valuable. Thanks to a generous donor, we were able to make a training video which is available online.
This training video is being used all over the world to help children learn to swallow pills.
Read the original scientific publication, Successful treatment of pill-swallowing difficulties with head posture practice, and download the daily record form. In addition, the method was featured in a 2020 article in the British Medical Journal, which you can download.
I am not one for hyperbole. So when I say that your video about swallowing pills was life-changing, I mean it. I’m 64 years old and until a short time ago, I couldn’t swallow a pill. I remember my mom chopping up penicillin pills when I was young. Crying when one went down the drain because they were so expensive. When I had my caesarians, they gave me shots for pain killers because I couldn’t have solid food. By then, the only way I could get pills down was with solid food. So when I saw your comment on someone else’s explanation of a pill-swallowing method, I thought I’d give your approach a try. Frankly, I didn’t want to have this problem as I got older. When I started your method, I didn’t need to use m&ms because I have enough pills to take anyway. For me, standing up and facing to the left worked right away. The immediate change was that I no longer have to empty a capsule into apple sauce (I have to take the medication on an empty stomach and this is the only alternative allowed). I’m still cutting one of the larger pills—probably out of fear. But today I cut it only in half, not quarters. Progress. I cannot thank you enough for your work and your comment on youtube.
- From an attorney in Missouri
I am writing to sincerely thank you for your pill swallowing study and video tutorials. I am 40 years old and came across your video on You tube. I have never been able to swallow a pill of any size until watching your video. Previously, I had tried for hours, had people sit with me (and grow frustrated,) I had a swallow study performed, and went to a hypnotist, all in efforts to rule out a physical reason (which I doubted) and to get over the mental block, which I knew was the large part of the problem. I watched so many videos and looked at products (pill swallowing cups, etc.) that weren’t inspiring. I’ve put off medical appointments because I was sure the only medical treatment would be in pill form, and the embarrassment and anxiety over having to “negotiate” how to get the pill down outweighed the medical condition. Chewing pills and getting past the taste was one thing, (in addition to having malaria pills stain my teeth yellow for a few hours), dealing with medication that can’t be chewed was another. Watching medication commercials, even with something as benign as Aleve vs. Advil to treat aches and pains made me nervous for the future. How would I even manage when I started to need to take more medication as I got older? In the winter I had to start on a new medication that I would be taking for at least 6 months. Even though the pills were small, I revisited looking at videos to see if anything looked helpful. This is when I came across your video on a Friday. Your quiet but firm and sincere confidence and instruction struck me immediately. Never before had I seen or considered moving my head in a different position, or that a small sip of water (not a gulp) was key. In my office at work, I noticed that things just felt different when swallowing water with my head turned to the left. I was really, honestly, almost excited to try with a real pill in the morning (I skipped the candy.) On Saturday I took out my pills and did some practice swallows with water. Then, I put in a pill, did the “duck shake” (which I love, and really helps to relax me) and then said “This is now or never.” It went down very easily. When I had a headache a few days later, I was able to swallow a larger pill. I can now swallow three small pills at a time; other capsules or ones that float are still a challenge, but I know I will get there. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this. You have fixed what has been a decades-long struggle. Words cannot express how happy and relieved I am. I appreciate your dedication to science and education.
- From an audiologist in Illinois