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.)