Ready to take your breathing and health in a new positive direction? Myofunctional therapy may very well provide you with relief from the negative manifestations of sleep disordered breathing and airway centered disorders.
As a parent of four children who did myofunctional therapy as an adjunctive natural treatment method for ADHD, sleep disorders, dental crowding, frequent congestion, and poor eating habits, AND as a practicing therapist, I have clear knowledge of the process. This is everything I wish I knew and everything you need to know before you begin myofunctional therapy.
It is a commitment
Myofunctional therapy is like having a personal trainer for all the muscles below the eyes and above the shoulders. They work to strengthen and coordinate those orofacial and oropharyngeal muscles for proper oral resting posture. This is accomplished through learning various exercises and activities on a regular basis until new neuromuscular patterning has occurred and habituation is established.
Whether the therapy is for you or for a child, remain conscious of the fact that therapy is designed to retrain the habits you have established from at or shortly after birth. Years of poor habits must be relearned and adjusted. You will be required to go home and practice your exercises daily. Eventually, exercises evolve into daily life integration and you must actively monitor your orofacial muscle movements and coordination while you perform daily tasks.
Myofunctional therapy involves much more than the time you have to spend actively working with the therapist weekly or bi-weekly, it requires daily commitment.
It is varied
No two therapists will work the same type of program. The field of myofunctional therapy is continually growing and evolving. Often times therapists share case successes, failures, and struggles to learn from each other. The programs that are taught are not yet regulated to be exactly the same. Which is to the benefit of the patients. It requires a therapist to seek out further education and courses, as well as expose them to a basic fact: people are different.
What would work best for you in a myofunctional therapy program is not what would work best for another person. You may present with specific problems or concerns that require certain exercises and the elimination of others. It is imperative that you speak and consult with a few myofunctional therapists to determine who would work best for your concerns.
It is collaborative
While myofunctional therapy is a great natural treatment for a myriad of eating, breathing, and sleeping issues, it hardly ever is the only treatment used. A team of medical and dental professionals often will work together to accomplish your health goals. Often your myofunctional therapist will have various methodologies they use to increase efficiency or enable goals to be accomplished within their program. Expect to need more than just myofunctional therapy and plan accordingly.
It changes your appearance
Strengthening and coordinating proper orofacial muscle movement will improve your facial appearance. The cheeks become less flaccid, the palate becomes wider, the lips strengthen, the teeth shift, and the posture improves. You may notice more physical changes in your pain levels, daily energy, health, and sleep in addition to your appearance. Photographs are usually taken at the beginning of treatment to be compared to the final visit.
Changes are slow and usually difficult to see as you progress through the program. You see yourself daily and gradual results are hard to observe. Do not be surprised to see a new you in the treatment photographs.
It can not be short-cutted
The internet is an amazing and destructive thing. We are offered ample opportunities to seek out information and fulfill needs rapidly. Because myofunctional therapy is a collaborative effort, it often is not done when other traditional medical and dental treatments are draining the budget. The internet has filled the void for everything you need to be done and can not afford.
When it comes to health, there are no shortcuts. Youtube videos are available that have a few or even a series of myofunctional therapy exercises. Many people assume that it can be done through videos alone. The problem with that theory is it disregards coordination and habituation. What specific exercises will address your concerns? What order do the exercises follow to establish new patterning? How do you tackle roadblocks for exercises you are unable to perform? Can you determine whether you are performing exercises with the isolation of the muscles involved in that process?
There are many questions that someone without training would be unable to answer. There are some questions that even some therapists with training are unable to answer. The only way to guarantee results and optimal care is to work with a therapist. Alternatives exist when the budget has little to no wiggle room.
I personally struggled initially trying to treat my four children on a budget. Heed my advice and learn from my mistakes. The path to this natural treatment method is paved with dedication, variation, collaboration, change, and no shortcuts.