Isometric Exercises to Treat Sleep Apnea

This blog is mainly about isometric exercises for strength training, but I came across a good article for people suffering from sleep apnea.

“A recent study showed that playing the didgeridoo to train the upper airway muscles “significantly ameliorated OSA syndrome severity and associated symptoms,”

With this in mind, the researchers chose a set of isometric and isotonic exercises for the tongue and soft palate area (oropharyngeal area) derived from speech therapy training that involved suction, swallowing, chewing, breathing and speech.

At the end of 3 months, the average apnea-hypopnea index, the sum of apneas plus hypopneas (episodes of shallow breathing) per hour of sleep, had decreased significantly from 22.4 to 13.7 events per hour in the exercise group. In addition, the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality score improved from 10.2 to 6.9 points, snoring intensity was reduced from “very loud” to “similar to breathing,” and Epworth Sleepiness Scale scores dropped from 14 to 8.”

Pretty cool huh?

Click the link to read the entire article on using isometric exercises for sleep apnea

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5 Comments Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. Vandal says:

    The exercise group improved to AHI of 13.7. If you sleep seven hours, that’s about 95 disturbances per night. It’s OK to take up the exercises, but at 95 disturbances per night you are still being slowly killed by sleep apnea. Your brain is being fried and you are at high risk for heart disease, CDV disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and depression. Nothing cool about that.

    Do the exercises but make getting to a sleep doctor a priority and seek a good medical treatment.

    I waited too long and have a lot of irreversible damage.

  2. I’ve been looking into this more and doing some research and this has been fairly helpful. But I thought sleep apnea was mostly an “overweight” condition.

  3. Jacqueline Weller says:

    For some people being overweight brings on sleep apnea, for sure. For many, sleep apnea brings on being overweight — because sleep deprivation changes metabolism of calories, leading to weight gain. Other folks with sleep apnea are normal weight. OSA can be caused by structural abnormality, inflammation of tongue, soft palate or airway or by poor muscle tone in the upper airways. I just got diagnosed with sleep apnea, but have realized that I’ve had it since I was a kid. While I’m struggling to find a mask that I can use with my CPAP machine (they’re giving me pressure sores on my face), I am researching exercises that would tone and strengthen the right muscles. Since the exercising of tongue and soft palate is a new approach, any of us doing the exercises would be experimenting. Still, I can’t see how singing, breathing, wind instrument-playing or speech therapy-based exercises could do any harm.

  4. Interesting the research about the didgeridoo. I’ve been living in Australia for 6 years and have a friend who uses the didg for all sorts of healing. The vibrational frequencies are supposed to heal many ailments. Might try it as a sleep apnea remedy now

  5. Jason Finley says:

    Awesome! Thanks for sharing that article. #Vandal – yeah, it didn’t eliminate the sleep apnea, but nobody should expect that. It is only one piece of the pinting. Excercise, no alcohol, weight loss, regular sleep, special pillows … All that might for many peoplee add up to a life without CPAP

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