Oral Myofunctional Therapy for Treatment of OSA

1. There are twenty or more upper airway muscles, including muscles in the soft palate, tongue, and pharynx that play a major role in keeping the airway patent.
2. Oral myofunctional therapy consists of the retraining of oral and pharyngeal muscles or the strengthening of these muscles with the goal or correcting abnormal or inadequate function.
3. The oral myofuctional therapist aims to correct muscle function by retraining tongue and lip position to their proper orientation, while using oral strength training to reinforce desired changes in the swallowing pattern.  Studies have shown about a 50% reduction in the AHI with this training.
4. Musicians who play the didgeridoo, bassoon, and oboe all use a skill of “circular breathing” which has been associated with a decrease in the severity of OSA.
5. Singing, even nonprofessionally, has been shown to improve snoring.
6. Oropharyngeal exercises including a specific regiment of isometric and isotonic exercises derived from speech therapy have been shown to improve the severity of OSA.
7. Studies are currently underway that will address the utility of oropharyngeal exercises as a stand –alone therapy or as adjunctive therapy that will improve the outcomes of Oral Appliance Therapy in the treatment of OSA.