Apnea and the Digeridoo

   Jul 30 , 2018


   Michael White

Diaphragm strength and sleep.

If you're like most people, you know that one of the biggest dangers of snoring and untreated sleep apnea is a reduction in the body's intake of oxygen. It's a little known fact that your diaphragm muscles can be a HUGE help in reducing sleep apnea and breathing volume. 
The diaphragm muscles are responsible for breathing – weak muscles mean your breathing isn't as strong or as easily deepened as it should be.  But there is hope!
There are a few key breathing development techniques and exercises that are meant to strengthen the diaphragm and increase lung volume and oxygen intake.  
Without the right amount of oxygen, we experience fatigue and depression, and low oxygen levels can also lead to serious health conditions such as heart failure.  By following our program in our Sleep program you'll be well on your way to a stronger diaphragm, greater lung volume and more oxygen. 

Didgeridoo playing as alternative treatment for obstructive sleep apnea syndrome: randomized controlled trial.

Puhan MA, Suarez A, Lo Cascio C, Zahn A, Heitz M, Braendli O.

Horten Centre, University of Zurich, 8091 Zurich, Switzerland.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the effects of didgeridoo playing on daytime sleepiness and other outcomes related to sleep by reducing collapsibility of the upper airways in patients with moderate obstructive sleep apnea syndrome and snoring. 

DESIGN: Randomized controlled trial. 

SETTING: Private practice of a didgeridoo instructor and a single centre for sleep medicine. 

PARTICIPANTS: 25 patients aged > 18 years with an apnea-hypopnea index between 15 and 30 and who complained about snoring. 

INTERVENTIONS: Didgeridoo lessons and daily practice at home with standardized instruments for four months. Participants in the control group remained on the waiting list for lessons. 

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Daytime sleepiness (Epworth scale from 0 (no daytime sleepiness) to 24), sleep quality (Pittsburgh quality of sleep index from 0 (excellent sleep quality) to 21), partner rating of sleep disturbance (visual analogue scale from 0 (not disturbed) to 10), apnea-hypopnea index, and health related quality of life (SF-36). 

RESULTS: Participants in the didgeridoo group practiced an average of 5.9 days a week (SD 0.86) for 25.3 minutes (SD 3.4). Compared with the control group in the didgeridoo group daytime sleepiness (difference -3.0, 95% confidence interval -5.7 to -0.3, P = 0.03) and apnea-hypopnea index (difference -6.2, -12.3 to -0.1, P = 0.05) improved significantly and partners reported less sleep disturbance (difference -2.8, -4.7 to -0.9, P < 0.01). There was no effect on the quality of sleep (difference -0.7, -2.1 to 0.6, P = 0.27). The combined analysis of sleep related outcomes showed a moderate to large effect of didgeridoo playing (difference between summary z scores -0.78 SD units, -1.27 to -0.28, P < 0.01). Changes in health related quality of life did not differ between groups. 

CONCLUSION: Regular didgeridoo playing is an effective treatment alternative well accepted by patients with moderate obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. Trial registration ISRCTN: 31571714.  
PMID: 16377643

From Mike:  Great insight about breathing development.  I love the didgeridoo and have worked on doo players.  Found their breathing to be not much better than average. Doo playing is mostly a skill with the mouth and a stronger extended exhale using the mouth. Think jazz great Dizzy Gillespie whose jowls bulged out when playing the trumpet.  Optimal Breathing's sleep program is better and easier to learn and maintain good sleep. 
begin here 

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