breathing excercisesYoga Breathing

According to Dr. Paulose, a plastic and laser surgeon, yoga does not cure sleep apnea, but it can help reduce symptoms. He suggests the ujjayi pranayama, or hissing breath, to increase lung capacity and remove throat blockages. Sit in a lotus position, breathe deeply through your nostrils until calm, then inhale forcefully through the nostrils while contracting your neck muscles to produce a low, throbbing sound. Hold this inhaled breath as long as possible, then close one nostril with your fingers and slowly exhale through the other nostril. Repeat with the other nostril and perform three to five times each day.

Buteyko Breathing

Buteyko breathing, named for its Russian inventor, Dr. Konstantin Buteyko, has a core set of breathing exercises that reverse hyperventilation by returning the breathing volume back to normal. Buteyko studied breathing and air composition for the Soviet Union astronaut program, and knew the importance of carbon dioxide for managing oxygenation in the body. He confirmed that Buteyko breathing helped asthma, COPD, emphysema, anxiety and panic attacks, hypertension, snoring and sleep apnea. Some clinical trials have confirmed it reduces asthma symptoms, but no clinical trials have been done on sleep apnea, notes the Sleep Apnea Disorder website.

Didgeridoo Playing

Continuous positive airway pressure therapy with a breathing machine is effective for sleep apnea, but not suitable for many patients and has a high rate of noncompliance. Some didgeridoo players noted improvement in daytime sleepiness and snoring after playing their instruments, causing Swiss researchers to test the theory, which was published by the “British Medical Journal.” Twenty-five patients with moderate OSAS were assigned to intervention or control groups. The intervention group took didgeridoo lessons and practiced daily for four months, while the controls were on a waiting list. Both apnea scores and daytime sleepiness improved significantly in the didgeridoo group and partners of patients reported less sleep disturbance. The breathing required in the training of the upper airways led the researchers to conclude didgeridoo playing may be an effective treatment for sleep apnea.

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Filed under: AsthmaCardiovascular DiseaseCOPDCPAP TherapyObstructive Sleep ApneaSleepSleep ApneaSleep Disordered BreathingSleep Problems

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