Question: I have had sleep apnoea for quite a number of years. I did not know why I felt so sick on getting up or why sometimes I would wake up with a snort. Finally I was diagnosed and recommended to use CPAP. It was years later when I finally started using this infernal machine, because the problem was badly affecting my blood pressure. I hated the machine even more in summer, when in very hot nights I had to inhale air with steam.
My husband also hated the noise of the CPAP which kept him awake. Then he found in the internet that playing the didgeridoo could tone the muscles in the throat. I wasted no time finding someone who made the instruments. He helped me to choose one which was easy to play. I had four lessons with him over a few months. I practiced every day, more than once for the first few months. It did not take long for me to learn circular breathing, but it took over one year before I could sustain the circular breathing for a long period without breaking.In the first few months my lips hurt, so I had to limit the time of playing to perhaps 10 minutes. Even though I could only do a few breaths before breaking, I found that before 6 months my nocturnal breathing had improved. I had a sleep test a few months after I started playing (I have no record of my first test). I am certain that I had already improved at this point, since I was feeling a lot better in the mornings. The result was 22 stops per hour. It is likely that I was stopping more than 30 times per hour before starting
to play.More than one year after I started playing I went back for another test. It showed only 7 stops per hour and I was told I no longer required a machine (I had long given it up anyway). The recommended time needed for this exercise to have an effect is 20 minutes per day. Nowadays I do not necessarily play everyday, even though I should and it is still working very well. I still snore at times, but this seems to be worse if I have not played for a few days.I find playing a pleasant experience. I particularly like the vibration that one feels in the head, particularly the throat. I have always been sure that it is that particular vibration which has such an effect on the muscles of the throat. Other wind instruments will not have that effect.If you live in Australia it is not difficult to find an instrument to buy and someone to teach you. If you live overseas, it is possible to buy plastic didgees that extend.Hope this information will be of assistance.
Answer: Wow Iracema! What a story, and what a creative solution! Thanks so much for sharing it.It sounds like it takes dedication for playing the didgeridoo to have the effect you achieved, but solving your sleep apnea problems AND learning a cool new skill sounds like a reward that’s plenty worth it.As I was reading your story I tried my hand at circular breathing (for those that don’t know: breathing in through your nose while simultaneously blowing out through your mouth to keep the steady tone of the instrument going), and couldn’t quite get it. Looks like I need some more practice. You’ve inspired me!
Thanks for your question and good luck,