Whether you are new to this blog or a frequent reader, I think it is safe to say I make my love for myofunctional therapy known. It has impacted my personal life and changed the health of my home.
It’s been around for nearly a century with current research linking it to improvements in speech, sleep, CPAP acceptance, breathing and orthodontic retention.
Why then does it seem like it has a cult like following with most people clueless about it’s existence?
Here’s 5 reasons why:
1. It’s not taught in most medical and dental schools
You will get the best of your physician or pediatrician if you ask them to explain myofunctional therapy. They have never heard of it and probably have very little desire to research it. In medical school they spent years digesting all the knowledge needed to practice medicine and then did a residency for a couple more years to get more experience. If in all of that time they were never exposed to myofunctional therapy, then it’s a lost cause gaining acceptance for it now. Plain and simple.
For most specialists it can be considered outside of the scope of practice to look at airway or oral features. When the doctor asks you to say ahh, it is to do a quick exam of your tonsils; not to evaluate the size of the oral cavity and speculate on a narrow airway. Those things are for dentists and otolarygnologists (otherwise known as ear, nose and throat doctors). Referral is the closest you may get to physician confirmation of an airway problem.
Which leads us to dental schools. A strong wind of change is on the horizon and many leading organizations in airway focused dentistry are encouraging changes in the curriculum. So, dentistry (which is always at the forefront of prevention) will be turning a tide in the number of informed practitioners. However, those in practice for a long time are often resistant to change or discouraged by the previous rise and fall in myofunctional popularity.
2. The field is currently expanding
Myofunctional therapy as a field of practice is growing at a fast pace now than it has ever! Which is exciting, however, as the field grows there is more effort on teaching within the field to fellow practitioners than to growing public awareness.
Leading organizations are posting more information about professional courses, events and new members than education and resources. To gather all the information needed to make an informed public, you would need to compile every individual myofunctional therapy practices blog and social posts.
You can’t learn about what is not made public.
3. Media has not caught on
Myofunctional therapy is amazing, but it sounds boring and expensive. Tongue exercises is an easier sell. You probably read or saw something in a major media outlet about the impact tongue exercises have on reducing snoring. Well, that’s essentially myofunctional therapy improving tongue posture for better nasal breathing, which in turn, decreases or eliminates snoring.
Media is not in the information business, they are in the consumption business. They do not profit by sharing information, rather, they profit by the consumption of their information. So sensational will always win. Myofunctional therapy will need more public awareness before it ever gets covered.
4. It’s often the “throwaway” treatment
Airway focused dentists and orthodontists are very aware of myofunctional therapy and the benefits it has on their appliance’s effectiveness. However, when you have patients on a budget that you finally got to accept appliance treatment, it’s hard to convince them to also do the adjunctive stuff.
Bodywork and myofunctional therapy are often jointly presented in a treatment plan. Very few offices have all in office, so referrals are often given. Yet, when budgets are considered and the patient stretched thin on thousands of dollars of orthodontic work, myo gets the boot. And people don’t talk about the wonderful therapy they heard about but couldn’t afford.
5. It’s associated with dentistry
By far the most distinctive reason you have never heard of myofunctional therapy is that it is associated with dentistry. Most people hate the dentist and avoid it like the plague. When dealing with highly anxious patients or people who start conversations about how much they hate you, it’s easy to bypass anything other than a fast positive experience.
Your best bet for hearing about myofunctional therapy is at the dental office. If you avoid it, you’ll miss myofunctional therapy entirely.
So break the stigma and share the wealth. It’s the best treatment you have never heard of for many of the things people suffer from.
For more about the benefits of myofunctional therapy check out our website.