Exercises Based on Playing Didgeridoo May Help OSA Patients

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The Australian Aboriginal instrument known as the didgeridoo may help to reduce some of the symptoms of mild to moderate http://www.ihatecpap.com/sleep_apnea_obstructive.html obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), and exercises based on it may be the next best thing.

OSA is characterized by stoppages in breathing nightly. This can occur hundreds of times a night. OSA is the result of the soft tissue at the back of the throat collapsing as the sufferer sleeps. Tongue and pharyngeal exercises performed with the didgeridoo have been shown to help reduce this.

It was previously believed that no amount of exercises that involved the tongue and throat muscles would be able to benefit OSA sufferers. However, a 2006 study showed that regular didgeridoo playing as an alternative treatment for OSA, which involved 25 patients from Germany and Switzerland, helped. Because the didgeridoo is a difficult instrument to learn to play, a Brazilian doctor and his colleagues have come up with a number of exercises that mimic playing the instrument.

The Study

Developed from speech therapy, these simple mouth and tongue exercises were tested on 31 patients with OSA. Sixteen of the 31 used the mouth and tongue exercises, while 15 of them were told to do deep breathing and use a nasal wash containing saline solution. After three months, the treatment group showed a 40 percent decrease in their OSA symptoms. Two of them showed a complete removal of symptoms. All of them showed improvement in daytime sleepiness, snoring, quality of sleep and oxygen saturation in their blood.

Further studies need to be done, but if these patients were as successful as reported, this may be another alternative treatment for OSA patients. This is especially good news for those who cannot tolerate Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP). There are a number of treatments already available, such as oral appliance therapy and behavioral modification. Though CPAP is still the first treatment considered, if you do not like it, don’t give up on being treated for OSA.

Gurnee, Illinois dentist Ira Shapira was recommending the didgeridoo treatment in 2006 and is the founder of the online sleep apnea treatment site www.ihatecpap.com. If you are suffering from sleep apnea and would like to know your options, please http://www.ihatecpap.com/contact.html contact Dr. Ira Shapira for an initial consultation.

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