Forum · Didgeridoo

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[-] AJBlock +0 points · almost 3 years ago

Has anyone here tried playing the didgeridoo for sleep apnea? What were your results?

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[-] SusanR +0 points · almost 3 years ago

Just saw your post- As Will and I were discussing, this has been tested in a few small studies. The data suggest that in selective people improvement may be seen. In addition to didgeridoo playing, others have tested various vocal/breathing therapies- also with a suggestion of some benefit. One of the challenges in this research is identifying how much sleep apnea improvement qualifies as a "success," and another relates to identifying which specific patients would benefit. There has been surprising little research that has tried to combine different treatments, which might include vocal and breathing exercises, and then tested to see which patients get the best relief.

Meanwhile, here is one study you might want to check out. Note that the overall body mass of the patients in this study were in the "normal" range, so that study did not examine how well this might work in heavier patients.

Didgeridoo playing as alternative treatment for obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome: randomised controlled trial BMJ 2006; 332 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.38705.470590.55 (Published 02 February 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:266

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[-] AJBlock +0 points · over 1 year ago

Hi Susan, Did you see the interview I did with Dr. Jordan Stern of BlueSleep on this topic? Here you will see him use an endoscope to observe the inner throat while playing didgeridoo: http://didgeproject.com/sleep-apnea/playing-the-didgeridoo-for-sleep-apnea-an-interview-and-analysis-with-dr-jordan-stern-of-bluesleep/

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[-] truckerdad57 -1 point · over 2 years ago

Aj.....

This thread shows one problem with medical folks. Getting them to talk in plain English. ..lol

Short answer... nope. .it doesn't really work.

Then again I just saw a site offering a herbal product to cure sleep apnea. .. oops the FDA is after them.

There are lots of neat ideas for treating sleep apnea. You will want to do some digging.

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[-] jsantunes78 +0 points · over 2 years ago

I have always liked the didgeridoo so I bought one a few months back. I have noticed that when I get the time to play, my apnea is less common and I feel more rested the next day. I think that it strengthens the muscles in the soft palate therefore creating less of an obstruction at night

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[-] MakeSleepAPriority +0 points · over 2 years ago

Welcome to the discussion jsantunes78. I'm impressed you are playing the didgeridoo in only a few months, it's a challenging task! As SusanR mentioned, it's not easy to measure improvement. What did you see or feel to notice your apnea is "less common"? Do you happen to be treated with an autoPAP device? Is the pressure range lower after you've been practicing the didgeridoo? Any other didgeridoo players out there?

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[-] AJBlock +0 points · over 2 years ago

Hi Everyone, Thanks for the great feedback. I've been working as a didgeridoo teacher for a number of years and here is what I have found. Those who are willing to practice the didgeridoo for at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week almost always show positive results. Of course, proper technique is required and this can be obtained through learning with a teacher or online videos. I have seen many people try the didgeridoo, yet without a consistent practice the toning of the muscles is not fully realized.

Didgeridoo is not for everyone. I find that the people who do best with it are those who have already developed other daily practices such as yoga, meditation, qi-gong and other musical instruments. Once discipline is established it is natural for these people to bring a new practice into their daily routine. Here's a great article on the didgeridoo for sleep apnea study:

http://didgeproject.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=136&Itemid=98

Enjoy!

-AJ

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[-] MakeSleepAPriority +0 points · over 2 years ago

That's interesting AJ. The exact same thing is true for CPAP, practice with it, wear it a little each night, then a little more and so on until you're a champ wearing it all night every night. The outcomes, decreased risk for diabetes, heart disease, improved memory and performance etc. improve the more it is "practiced". And it takes discipline. Maybe helping people understand the impact and helping them learn about discipline would help them "practice" or be fully compliant with recommended treatments for any disorder. And that would help us all achieve healthier outcomes. Thoughts anyone?

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[-] AJBlock +0 points · over 1 year ago

Discipline is the key to any practice. With discipline comes progress and with progress comes healing. Thanks for your comment!

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[-] FriendlyChartreuseMandrill7176 +0 points · 12 months ago

I've tried the BIPAP machine and no matter how diligent I was or how hard I persevered, I could not adapt to the machine -- in fact the machine was a living hell, and I slept worse with it than without it. The so-called "gold standard" of Sleep Apnea treatment, to me at least, should be renamed the "substandard" of Sleep Apnea treatment, because, quite frankly, it sucks!

The worst part about my experience with Sleep Apnea has been the constant frustration of trying to explain to the many ENT doctors I have seen over the years that sleep apnea affects the brain and the mood of a person much differently than general insomnia or sleep latency. It seems as though, unless the doctors experience it themselves, they are incapable of being empathetic and so they just try to pass-off another duel diagnosis, such as a mood disorder or something along those lines to explain the lack of treatment success. In my opinion, my condition has been made much more severe by doctors who just seem to be playing the guessing game. I've had three surgeries - all vey painful -- with no success.

It's very easy to determine if a patient's sleep apnea has improved or not after a specific treatment: Just ask the patient how s/he feels and follow their answer up with a few cognitive battery tests and mood tests to get a more objective result, but in my opinion, if the patient feels better, then that's all that matters. I think doctors make it more complicated than it has to be. I mean, I had moderate sleep apnea for 10yrs and after my second surgery, the sleep study showed my AHI was 42 which was 12 points higher than when I was first diagnosed. So, coincidently, the doctors, in my opinion have made my condition worse.

And the only thing that makes the apnea tolerable is by maintaining a lean body mass of about 9%, and that requires a lot of discipline and hard work at the gym. I have completely lost my faith in the sleep medicine community. If you want to get help I guess you really have to help yourself. I remember watching those hall-mark family movies when I was a teenager, where a mother and father had a very sick child and the professional medical community could not find what was wrong or they knew what was wrong but did not have a known cure. So, the parents became doctors themselves and did intense research and eventually discovered a cure, shocking the medical community who had told them that what they did was impossible. Impossible? It seems not.

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[-] Vicki +0 points · over 2 years ago

I was in communication with the Principle Investigator of that study. It was a seminal study 5 years ago with a small subject number as all preliminary studies are. To get the benefits as seen in the trial, the protocol must be followed exactly. Additionally, the P.I. told me that they were doing further research (repetition of results, preferably by another lab) is a must in science. To date, no further research has been done and the investigators have gone on to other topics.

Playing the didg. is fun. I have two. But if you chose to try to treat your apnea this way, you need to keep using your CPAP and measure the effects playing the didgeridoo has had by an objective sleep study.

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[-] AJBlock +0 points · over 1 year ago

I agree with you Vicki, progress must be tracked. What I find is that most people who turn to the didgeridoo are already non-compliant with their CPAP device. I think the best suggestion would be to play didgeridoo daily for 3-4 months and then have a follow up study to see if its really working. Has anyone tried this?

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[-] MakeSleepAPriority +0 points · over 2 years ago

Thanks Vicki that is great information and a good primer on scientific studies. Can you translate that into how learning more about the effects of playing a didg could be studied in an outcomes research network ? If we could find a few hundred users who play the didgeridoo what would an outcomes study look like?

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[-] sleepysteve +0 points · over 2 years ago

I guess I am pretty slow, but what is Digerdoo?

[+] [deleted] +0 points · over 2 years ago
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[-] DariaVader +0 points · over 2 years ago
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[-] Kyle +0 points · about 2 years ago

Hi everyone, we found this topic really intriguing! We reached out to one of the experts on sleep apnea, and they wrote a detailed blog post about it for the MyApnea community!

We're finishing the final edits, and will let you know when it goes live. In the meantime, has anyone else had any success playing the didgeridoo? It sounds really awesome, but I wonder if people find it hard to play?

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[-] AJBlock +0 points · over 1 year ago

Hi Kyle, Was the article ever published about this? I would love to see it! Did you see the interview I did with Dr. Jordan Stern of BlueSleep on this topic? Here you will see him use an endoscope to observe the inner throat while playing didgeridoo: http://didgeproject.com/sleep-apnea/playing-the-didgeridoo-for-sleep-apnea-an-interview-and-analysis-with-dr-jordan-stern-of-bluesleep/

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[-] I8chillywilly +0 points · about 2 years ago

Woohooo! I am getting a Didgeridoo!!!!!! What a great excuse, "but honey it will help my sleep apnea!" I read selectively read this post this to my wife after woot wooting. She is soooooo happy right now. I did not mention the entire study part, not working, needing further study.... Bah

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[-] I8chillywilly +0 points · about 2 years ago

Ok so I searched for didgeridoo stores and believe it or not there are a few. I quickly noticed that the "real" ones are finally crafted and quite expensive. I also noticed that the less expensive ones are simply shaped plastic pipes. Do a search for how to make a didgeridoo out pvc pipe and you can easily the find instructions and recommendations. Apparently this is quite the fad...

The point being if you wanted to give it a try, don't think you need to buy an expensive one.

Again this is for fun and not a recommendation or endorsement of an alternative therapy or treatment.

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[-] AJBlock +0 points · over 1 year ago

PVC pipe works fine. In fact I have seen subjects mitigate most of their sleep apnea symptoms by playing exclusively on PVC didgeridoo!

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[-] I8chillywilly +0 points · about 1 year ago

Nice. It is difficult to do. I have not really made much progress in the past few months.

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[-] Kyle +0 points · about 2 years ago

Hey @I8chillywilly, have you looked into the didgeridoos on Amazon? There are a few options with good reviews and reasonable prices for an instrument (~$30).

There's this one made from durable plastic, that comes with instructional videos (seemingly good for beginners!): Amazon.com - Didgeridoo Store Ultimate Package 1.5

And there's this one made from bamboo with the mouthpiece molded into it: Amazon.com - Meinl Percussion DDG1-BK Bamboo Didgeridoo - Black

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[-] I8chillywilly +0 points · about 2 years ago

I did see those. Not on Amazon though. It's a good option from my Those are the plastic ones. You can get a piece of 1.5 pvc for about $5. The kit has me thinking though!

Thanks for pointing those out. I appreiciate it.

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[-] BrainsNeedSleep +0 points · about 2 years ago

If I remember correctly, the "trick" to the didgeridoo being effective was not only the discipline but also learning something called (?) "circular breathing," something I was not quite able to do. However, I had always wanted to learn to play the Irish pennywhistle/tinwhistle/fipple flute, so picked that up, wondering if that would be useful. The "throating" technique, wherein you push the whistle up an octive by doing something in your upper throat, seemed to have been useful. My first lab study showed avg 15 obstructions an hour....latest Sleepyhead data shows 1-3 a night. And yeah, you have to be diligent, but that's easy if you are doing something you love, and I love that whistle. Alas, my dog does not.... / I would dearly love to see a robust study done on the didgeridoo, the whistle, vocal lessons and see what, if any impact each may have.

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[-] AJBlock +0 points · over 1 year ago

Hi BNS, While learning circular breathing will enhance the efficacy of Didgeridoo For Sleep Apnea Therapy it is NOT required to receive benefits. Circular Breathing is important for sustaining the tone for long periods of time. However, I have spoken with Alex Suarez, the didgeridoo instructor from the University of Zurich study published in the British Medical Journal. He says that circular breathing was not an essential component of playing for the subjects in the study. You can see benefits just by playing long tones with a really good sound. For a great introduction to making a good sound on didgeridoo, see this video on How To Play Didgeridoo For Absolute Beginners: http://didgeproject.com/didgeridoo-lessons/how-to-play-didgeridoo-for-absolute-beginners/

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[-] mrueschman +0 points · about 2 years ago

Kicking this back to the top -- we recently released a new Research Highlight about the didgeridoo and its potential use in the treatment of sleep apnea. Thanks to Dr. Dennis Hwang for the great write-up!

Edit: Fixed link.

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[-] AJBlock +0 points · over 1 year ago

Hi mrueschman, This link does not work. Can you send us one that works? Thank you!

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[-] AJBlock +1 point · over 1 year ago

Dear Sleep Apnea Didgeridoo Community,

Here are a few videos with information about the didgeridoo for sleep apnea and how to play it.

First off, if you are not familiar with the didgeridoo and how it can treat sleep apnea, read this article on the study conducted at the University of Zurich: http://didgeproject.com/sleep-apnea/didgeridoo-for-sleep-apnea-first-clinical-study/

Next, get a doctor's perspective. In this interview with Dr. Jordan Stern of BlueSleep you will see him use an endoscope to observe the inner throat while playing didgeridoo: http://didgeproject.com/sleep-apnea/playing-the-didgeridoo-for-sleep-apnea-an-interview-and-analysis-with-dr-jordan-stern-of-bluesleep/

Lastly, here is an introductory lesson on How To Play Didgeridoo For Absolute Beginners: http://didgeproject.com/didgeridoo-lessons/how-to-play-didgeridoo-for-absolute-beginners/

As I mentioned earlier, I have seen subjects mitigate most of their sleep apnea symptoms by playing exclusively on a homemade PVC didgeridoo that costs $5 to make! The ideal dimensions are 1.5" diameter by 48" long. Mouthpiece can be made from beeswax, rubber, wood, or simply by sanding down the plastic.

I'd love to hear from you: what has worked for you with didgeridoo and sleep apnea?

-AJ

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