Didgeridoo It Yourself: DIY Sleep Apnea Treatment

didgeridoo, myofunctional therapy, tongue and facial exercises

Have you ever heard the rumbling of a didgeridoo?  You might recognize the picture above. This instrument originated in Australia and is thought to be one of the oldest instruments in history.  Essentially this instrument is a hollowed-out piece of wood that is played with your mouth. Much like other woodwind instruments; flutes, recorders, and the clarinet.  This instrument continues today to be a relevant piece of aboriginal culture and, interestingly enough, the sleep medicine industry.

Do I still have your attention?  Can this ancient instrument really improve sleeping in the modern world of medicine?  Well, actually, there is research out there that suggests that practicing and playing this instrument can improve your sleep.  If you follow our blog you might remember the Do you even lift? blog post.  It talks about exercising your airway muscles to improve your sleep quality, especially if suffering from snoring or sleep apnea.  The didgeridoo concept isn’t much different, the only difference is you get to enjoy the music that it creates.

This historic instrument can improve your airway breathing and as a result, decrease the symptoms of sleep apnea.  A research study was done in England that verified the findings of this idea.  They looked at a small group of people that practiced their didgeridoo for 20-30 minutes a day for at least 5 days a week.  This practice resulted in decreased snoring, better sleep for bed partners and significant decreases in apnea events per hour.  These results were seen without the use of any medical intervention.  That means no CPAP and no Oral Appliance!

It’s important to know that these results come with work.  The muscles that are used and toned must be exercised consistently to continue to see results.  It is just like the rest of your body and how those muscles work. If you stop working out you lose muscle tone, the same goes for the didgeridoo.  If you don’t practice than your airway muscles will lose their tone and tightness.

Want to give didgeridoo a try?  You can always find some on Amazon or at your local music store.  There is a great video here, that gives an intro to the concept and talks about the basic techniques.  Let us know how the practicing goes, and if it improves your sleep quality. We always like to hear about the different ways that patients can achieve a better night’s sleep.  



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