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didgeridoo
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me50 Offline

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Post: #1
didgeridoo
I was wondering how many of the members here use or have tried the didgeridoo and if so, has it helped with the apnea?
12-26-2013 08:36 PM
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Airstream Offline

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Post: #2
RE: didgeridoo
At first I thought you were joking. My response was going to be, "Not lately, I gave up drinking years ago". Then I read this:

Researchers reporting in the British Medical Journal evaluated 25 people with sleep apnea—a breath-stealing condition caused by flabby throat muscles—and found that those who took 4 months of didgeridoo (DIH-jeh-ree-doo) lessons had about 31/2 times less daytime sleepiness than the folks who didn't blow their own horns. The newly minted musicians also snored significantly less.

I wouldn't even know where to get one. Time to hear from one of our Aussie friends maybe.

To err is human, but to really mess things up, you need a computer.
12-26-2013 09:14 PM
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me50 Offline

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Post: #3
RE: didgeridoo
(12-26-2013 09:14 PM)Airstream Wrote:  At first I thought you were joking. My response was going to be, "Not lately, I gave up drinking years ago". Then I read this:

Researchers reporting in the British Medical Journal evaluated 25 people with sleep apnea—a breath-stealing condition caused by flabby throat muscles—and found that those who took 4 months of didgeridoo (DIH-jeh-ree-doo) lessons had about 31/2 times less daytime sleepiness than the folks who didn't blow their own horns. The newly minted musicians also snored significantly less.

I wouldn't even know where to get one. Time to hear from one of our Aussie friends maybe.
They can be ordered online. I would like to hear from those that have used this and if it helped also hear from where they bought it from so if I decide to purchase one I can get it from a reliable source
(This post was last modified: 12-27-2013 02:03 AM by me50.)
12-26-2013 10:05 PM
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eviltim Offline

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Post: #4
RE: didgeridoo
I have one. My parents had a real, legit digeridoo for years that I would play occasionally (lived in Aus when I was a kid). As far as sleep apnea, no improvement whatsoever. But it's fun to play. Never could get the circular breathing down. I have a super cheap-o one from amazon that I have no complaints about. But yeah, no real improvement in the apnea.
12-26-2013 11:16 PM
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vsheline Offline

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Post: #5
RE: didgeridoo
DocWils says it is only effective if done a certain way, using a "circular breathing" technique, and it is important to receive lessons from someone who knows how to play it properly. Quoting from various posts by DocWils about didgeridoo playing:


1. So, what are cures [for Obstructive Sleep Apnea]? In a lot of cases, the best way is to lose weight and retone the muscles of the throat, using a Didgeridoo.

But that doesn't work in all cases, because the cause is not fat related or comes from elsewhere - in some cases, surgery is required to shorten the uvula or make other adjustments. They don't always work either. Plastic strips are inserted into the soft palette and the back of the throat sometimes - they don't always work, either. From a medical standpoint, CPAP is the best and cheapest response to the problem, and one that has the highest success rate, even though it is purely therapeutic in nature, meaning that if you don't use it for one session, the condition is still there and will immediately return. After that, for most common types of apnoea, weight loss and Didgeridoo. Surgery is almost always a poor third place to these.


2. Weight loss only completely reverses apnoea in only the most mild cases, as once the extra tissue or tissue laxity takes hold, there is only a mild effect from weight loss when not accompanied by other therapeutic techiniques. This is not to say that there is no need to lose weight - you should ALWAYS lose weight if you are above your ideal BMI. Maintaining a proper BMI not only promotes healthy breathing, but also a healthy heart and other organs.

Most surgical procedures to reverse apnea are only half successful and often are a complete waste of time, since the record of success is relatively iffy. However surgery is recommended for some causes of apnoea, mostly those dealing with an elongated uvula or a misaligned jaw.

For most common types of apnoea, weight loss should be accompanied by didgeridoo playing. I know that sounds odd, but studies have shown it to correctly tone the throat tissue in ways that no other therapy does, and this can, with weight loss, revert or even halt apnoea altogether, but again I caution you that only in less severe cases does it have a high success rate. But doing the "doo" is a lot of fun and strangely emotionally therapeutic as well. Not that your neighbors will like it….


3. Weight loss can be successful in curing mild OSA, but it has not been shown to be as successful in more severe cases where a great deal of weight must be lost. The reason, so it has been surmised, is that the fat build up in the neck is the last to go, and once the laxity of the tissue has been induced it is very difficult to get it to retone, hence the current suggestion to combine weight loss with toning exercises, particularly didgeridoo playing, and this has been show to have some efficacy.


4. … regular playing means twice to three times a week once the therapy has proven effective - fifteen minutes to an hour will suffice, depending on how well your throat holds tone - everybody is different in that regard. Getting to that point, however,will require more regular practice, although the research subjects here did not do daily practise. If you currently have a high AHI, it can help lower it - if your AHI is relatively low, it can bring it to the the sub-clinical point, but it is not a cure.

Membership in the Advisory Member group should not be understood as in any way implying medical expertise or qualification for advising Sleep Apnea patients concerning their treatment. The Advisory Member group provides advice and suggestions to Apnea Board administrators and staff on matters concerning Apnea Board operation and administrative policies - not on matters concerning treatment for Sleep Apnea. I think it is now too late to change the name of the group but I think Voting Member group would perhaps have been a more descriptive name for the group.
(This post was last modified: 12-27-2013 01:58 AM by vsheline.)
12-27-2013 01:52 AM
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me50 Offline

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Post: #6
RE: didgeridoo
Thanks vsheline. I read that post as well and the information is interesting. I was wondering what those that have apnea and have played the didgeridoo think.

"I would like to hear from those that have used this and, if it helped, also hear from where they bought it from so if I decide to purchase one I can get it from a reliable source"
12-27-2013 02:06 AM
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DocWils Offline

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Post: #7
RE: didgeridoo
You don't have to buy a real 'doo, here they use a length of plastic or perspex tubing tube the right size and aperture. You won't get any therapeutic effect from playing it occasionally - this is something that must be done at first every day, and then once the technique has been mastered and the effect has set in, it can be reduced to several times in the week. I have not heard of anyone on this board who has used it, but I have interviewed several patients here here who have, in conjunction with the LL, and, depending on the cause of the apnoea and other therapies (weight loss, etc), they have all reported some effect.
12-27-2013 06:14 AM
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Lukie Offline

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Post: #8
RE: didgeridoo
I tried the didgeridoo and found it like any other musical instrument, a real challenge and after a while I just lost interest. I find it much easier just to plop on the mask and breathe . It probably could be used to strengthen throat and other muscles involved in breathing but not a substitute unless your apneas are very mild and only of the obstructive kind.
12-29-2013 08:48 AM
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me50 Offline

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Post: #9
RE: didgeridoo
(12-29-2013 08:48 AM)Lukie Wrote:  I tried the didgeridoo and found it like any other musical instrument, a real challenge and after a while I just lost interest. I find it much easier just to plop on the mask and breathe . It probably could be used to strengthen throat and other muscles involved in breathing but not a substitute unless your apneas are very mild and only of the obstructive kind.

I wouldn't substitute a cpap device for didgeridoo at all, even with mild OSA. At worst, it won't help strengthen anything but would be fun to play...at best, it will help with the apnea (definitely don't expect this to be a cure all for OSA).
12-29-2013 10:06 AM
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DocWils Offline

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Post: #10
RE: didgeridoo
As I said many times, this is not a cure - there is no such thing a s a cure, per se. Weight loss combined with throat toning can lessen or suppress OSA in some cases, and mileage may vary. It has been shown to be effective but will not do anything in other cases. If it works for you, then go for it, if it does not, then it does not, but it must be done correctly or it will have no effect. Just blowing into it will not do a darned thing, you have to learn the correct method of breathing (actually what this is in the end is a breathing exercise combined with resistance training (the necessary pressure to move the air in the tube)). If your neck remains at or near 40 cm in circumference this training will not be effective, so considerable weight loss, and most specifically in the throat region, is of uttermost importance. However, once the damage is done, and the laxity in the throat is induced, then it is very hard to undo.

In addition, age is also a factor, as the tissue in the throat becomes lax with age, and so this can be a difficult battle to win.
12-29-2013 10:40 AM
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