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Myofunctional Therapy and Nasal Breathing Exercises

Myofunctional Therapy and Nasal Breathing Exercises - What it is

What is myofunctional therapy?

Myofunctional therapy is a set of tongue and throat exercises that aims to increase the tone and strength of your tongue and throat muscles. For obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) patients, their throat muscles and tongue are more relaxed during sleep, resulting in a collapse of their airway. Myofunctional therapy exercises can help to increase the tone and strength of these upper airway muscles, thereby reducing the collapse of the upper airway during sleep.

Myofunctional therapy reduces sleepiness and snoring, and improves OSA. It complements other OSA treatments.

Nasal breathing exercises

Nasal breathing exercises are exercises that encourage nasal breathing. Nasal breathing is important for stabilisation of the upper airway. OSA patients often breathe through their mouths during sleep. This causes their tongues to collapse backwards which will narrow their upper airway and reduce airflow.

Here is a set of myofunctional therapy and nasal breathing exercises. It takes about 5 minutes to complete one set of exercises. It would be ideal to achieve 2 sets of exercise per session (10 minutes total), at least twice daily. It is recommended to practice these exercises in front of a mirror so it is easier to see what is happening.

 

Myofunctional therapy exercises

1. Tongue slide

Exercise: Press the tip of your tongue on your top front teeth. Slowly slide your tongue backwards. Repeat 5 times.

Purpose of this exercise: Strengthens your tongue and throat muscles.

 

2. Tongue stretch

Exercise: Stick out your tongue as far as you can. Try to touch your chin with your tongue while looking at the ceiling. Hold for 10 - 15 seconds and increase the duration gradually. Repeat 5 times.

Purpose of this exercise: Increases the tone and strength of your tongue.

 

3. Gum chewing

Exercise: With your mouth closed, go through the motion of chewing, as if you are chewing a piece of gum. Whilst chewing, make an ‘mmmm’ sound. Do this for 10 seconds. Repeat 5 times.

Purpose of this exercise: Strengthens your throat and jaw muscles and helps to widen your airway.

 

4. Tongue forces

Exercise:
Step 1: Position your tongue upward against the roof of your mouth and press your entire tongue against it. Hold this position for 10 seconds. Repeat 5 times.
Step 2: In the opposite direction, force your tongue down, until your whole tongue is resting on the floor of your mouth. Ensure the tip of your tongue is touching the back of your lower teeth. Hold this position for 10 seconds. Repeat 5 times.

Purpose of this exercise: Improves the tone and strength of your tongue and soft palate.

 

5. Tongue clench

Exercise: Hold your tongue gently in between your lower and upper front teeth. Do not bite too hard on your tongue to avoid causing injury. Whilst holding your tongue between your teeth, perform 5 swallows. Repeat 5 times.

Purpose of this exercise: Strengthens your tongue and throat muscles.

6. Finger in cheek

Exercise: Press the buccinator muscle (main muscle in your cheek) outwards while contracting your cheek muscle. Repeat 10 times on each side.

Purpose of this exercise:Assists in better closure of the mouth and improves nasal breathing.

 

7. Inflate a balloon

Exercise: Cover the opening of a balloon with your mouth. Take a deep breath from your nose and exhale from your mouth to inflate the balloon as much as possible. Repeat 5 times.

Purpose of this exercise: Improves the overall tone and strength of the jaw, facial and throat muscles.

 

8. Nasal breathing

Exercise:
Step 1: Sit up straight. With your mouth closed and your jaw relaxed, inhale through your nose.
Step 2: Relax your body. Focus on your breathing.
Step 3: Press your finger/knuckle on one nostril and breathe out gently through the other nostril. This step allows you to determine which nostril tends to be more or less congested.
Step 4: After determining which the less congested nostril is, press your finger/ knuckle on the less congested nostril and breathe through the more congested nostril.

Purpose of this exercise: Improves and encourages nasal breathing, which can help stabilise your airway during sleep

 

Myofunctional Therapy and Nasal Breathing Exercises
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Myofunctional Therapy and Nasal Breathing Exercises - Symptoms

Myofunctional Therapy and Nasal Breathing Exercises - How to prevent?

Myofunctional Therapy and Nasal Breathing Exercises - Causes and Risk Factors

Myofunctional Therapy and Nasal Breathing Exercises - Diagnosis

Myofunctional Therapy and Nasal Breathing Exercises - Treatments

Myofunctional Therapy and Nasal Breathing Exercises - Preparing for surgery

Myofunctional Therapy and Nasal Breathing Exercises - Post-surgery care

Myofunctional Therapy and Nasal Breathing Exercises - Other Information

The information provided is not intended as medical advice. Terms of use. Information provided by SingHealth

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