According to a meta-analysis study in 2015 that considered 226 studies, the practice of oral and breathing exercises lowered subjects’ apnea–hypopnea index (an index of the severity of apnea based on how many times and for how long breathing ceases per hour of sleep) by 50%. So, what exactly are oral exercises? It may sound a little odd at first, but Sarah Hornsby is a myofunctional therapist who teaches people how to strengthen their tongue, throat, breathe through their nose, and keep their tongue resting at the roof rather than the bottom of their mouth through a series of exercises she leads via Skype-based appointments, video programs, and YouTube videos. Her goal is to make this knowledge and resource globally accessible to the many people who are unnecessarily suffering or unaware that there is an actual fixable problem underlying their daily fatigue.
“It really is something that actually addresses root causes, and I appreciate that so much because I feel like a lot of what we do in modern medicine and dentistry is just about treating symptoms,” says Hornsby. In addition to sleep apnea, headaches, jaw pain, neck pain, teeth grinding, and chronic sinus issues are just a few of the symptoms associated with oral myofunctional and breathing problems. Ultimately, a person’s overall health and well-being can be severely compromised by something that’s treatable without the use of pills or bothersome devices.
Hornsby makes for an insightful and eye-opening conversation that covers everything from craniofacial development and growth in children (and how it can be altered by the position of the tongue in the mouth), why snoring shouldn’t be brushed off as simply a nuisance, the importance of the respiratory disturbance index in evaluating the seriousness of a person’s sleep apnea, and what an initial consultation with her would look like.
Press play to hear the full conversation, find her videos on YouTube, and visit https://myfaceology.com/ to learn more.