Get relief from sleep apnea and/or snoring, express yourself musically, and have fun at the same time!
Is your sound sleep interrupted by sleep apnea, intense snoring and/or insomnia and resulting daytime sleepiness? If so, playing a drone instrument called the didgeridoo can help.
What is a didgeridoo?
The didgeridoo is a wind instrument that is really just a hollow tube made out of anything from PVC pipe to eucalyptus wood (the original material used by the Aborigines in Australia).
To play it requires no particular knowledge of or ability to read music. It does, however, require learning how to make the sound (not hard to get an initial sound) and that in itself is healing. Most people who learn the didgeridoo also learn what is called “circular breathing.” This kind of breathing is particularly effective in treating snoring and sleep apnea problems because it strengthens the muscles at the back of the throat which are causing the airways to partially collapse during sleep. (check out Laoutback.com)
What do the experts say?
Reuters News Service recently reported that a study published by the British Medical Journal (2/4/06) shows that regular didgeridoo playing reduces snoring and daytime sleepiness. Snoring and obstructive sleep apnea syndrome are common sleep disorders caused by the collapse of the upper airways.
Reports of didgeridoo players experiencing reduced daytime sleepiness and snoring after practicing led experts in Switzerland to test the theory that training of the upper airways by didgeridoo playing can improve these disorders. They identified 25 patients with moderate obstructive sleep apnea syndrome and who complained about snoring. Patients were randomly allocated to an intervention group (didgeridoo lessons and daily practice at home for four months) or a control group (remained on a waiting list for lessons). Compared with the control group, daytime sleepiness and apnea scores improved significantly in the didgeridoo group. Partners of patients in the didgeridoo group also reported much less sleep disturbance.
The authors conclude that regular training of the upper airways by didgeridoo playing reduces daytime sleepiness and snoring in people with moderate obstructive sleep apnea syndrome and also improves the sleep quality of partners.
How can you learn the didgeridoo?
Elise has been playing the didgeridoo for seven years now and is now offering one-on-one sessions and classes to teach the skills to others. Included in the package is a practice urban didgeridoo, either decorated or one that you can decorate yourself. Should you become interested after you learn how to play, there are many professional didges available in the marketplace.
Other reasons to play didgeridoo
1.) Links Westerners with the ancient Aboriginal culture of Australia
2.) Helps with meditation
3). Teaches you to breath in a more healthy way
4.) Provides insight into yourself. and gives you a way to express yourself musically.
Links Westerners to indigenous cultures
Playing the didgeridoo reminds us of our earthly, indigenous roots. Originally these instruments were played to develop empathy with animals as the sounds of animals, birds and insects can be replicated on the didgeridoo. The didgeridoo seems to bring up energy from the earth itself and make it audible to the human ear.
Playing the didgeridoo can enhance entry into a meditative state. Dirk Schellberg in Didgeridoo: Ritual Origins and Playing Techniques, quotes a psychotherapist who has been using the didgeridoo in his practice for years, Dr. Wolfgang Strobe, “After lengthy practice of meditation it is common to experience inner tangible or audible vibrations (the yoga philosopher Patanjali calls this the ‘humming of the cosmic engine.’) These vibrations can be compared to the vibrations of the didgeridoo which can be perceived with the senses. What is heard after a while with the inner ear when a person meditates, can be made audible for the outer ear by the didgeridoo. (p. 73)
Breathing is connected to the word “spirit” in many languages, including English. And yet so many of us have not learned to breath properly, causing physical as well as spiritual problems. The art of circular breathing that is needed to play the didgeridoo allows us to become conscious of our breathing and to correct problematic patterns that we have established. This special kind of breathing can be of help to anyone with pulmonary problems such as asthma.
The Greeks saw the diaphragm as the seat of the soul, using the same word for spirit, soul and diaphragm. Didgeridoo playing is an effective way to train the diaphragm because some of the rhythms are created directly by the diaphragm. Watch an experienced player, and notice the intense activity of the diaphragm.
Insight and expression
Didgeridoos have been used to reach a relaxed, dream-like state in which the unconscious can be accessed and insights gained. And it gives you all of the benefits of expressing yourself musically.
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