What does hocus pocus mean? It’s a metaphor for nonsense or sham used especially to cloak deception.
The main messages expressed are that you’re never too old to believe in the impossible and that good always conquers evil. Though not the most unique messages
Where did the expression Hocus Pocus come from?
The word hocus-pocus originally came from magic shows, in fact — it’s fake Latin, probably copied from the Latin invocation, Hoc est corpus meum, “this is my body.”
Which is why I felt it was a good topic for Halloween! We have been talking about our body, taking ownership, who to trust with our healthcare needs, and what our habits and beliefs are.
There are going to be people who listen to me talk about the airway, breathing, mouth health, and myofunctional therapy and feel it is a bunch of witchery.
I’ve been there. You just heard about this random therapy that seems to have come out of nowhere, your head is spinning, and you want a second opinion. Absolutely something to Google away your concerns.
Two of the most common Google searches regarding this subject are “is myofunctional therapy legit” and “is myofunctional therapy a scam?” There is nothing wrong with skepticism, it’s a quality that protects us from harm. But it can also keep us from getting the help we may need and deserve, mostly because it is new and different. We may have never heard of it before. People need to hear things more than seven times before they trust the source.
There are times when myofunctional therapy can be considered a scam because it has been misrepresented in the sales pitches or shown no results. It’s always best to start with the basics. So let’s address myofunctional therapy as a treatment modality.
Myofunctional therapy is like having a physical therapist or personal trainer for all the muscles below the eyes and above the shoulders. It utilizes various exercises and activities to help patients establish a proper oral resting posture and tongue function.
As a myofunctional therapist, I do exercises every day with my patients. Have I seen it fail? Of course, I have. Yet, not when the plan was followed as recommended. Nothing is ever truly guaranteed, even when we think it is. Like anything in life, you get out of it what you put in.
Knowing when to integrate myofunctional therapy treatment can be challenging. Is it critical to get you to the wellness goals you are hoping to achieve? Can it be effective enough to produce results? With numerous considerations and conflicting views, it is understandable that you would want to know if orofacial myofunctional therapy is a viable option for treatment.
Once you begin to fall down the rabbit hole of learning the various impacts poor tongue posture, tongue tie, or oral dysfunction has on digestion, breathing, and wellness, it’s hard to feel that myofunctional therapy is not necessary. Many people do suffer from orofacial myofunctional disorders thanks to our societal evolution into processed foods, bottle feeding, lack of natural infant movement, and the effect they have on growth and development. All things have an impact on our bodies that only compounds as we age.
The frequent congestion, ear/throat/sinus infections, poor sleep, mouth-breathing, and tongue thrust have become intolerable. You have heard about myofunctional therapy as a treatment to provide you with some relief…now what?
Many people need therapy, but the only way to determine if you need it is to get assessed by simply having a consultation with a myofunctional therapist.…OR…you could take a survey to verify your need and validate your concerns.
Many therapists offer free consultations to discuss whether myofunctional therapy will be the most effective route for you or a loved one.
The 5 A’s of Airway Obstruction
An obstructed or narrow airway has many consequences. Breathing is essential, and any obstacle is detrimental to our mental and physical health. Most frequently, people suffering from a narrow airway will experience one or all of five symptoms.
Asthma and asthma-like symptoms are directly related to airway issues. Modern medicine would typically treat wheezing and attacks with medications. However, many people have successfully treated their asthma with a combination of myofunctional therapy and dental appliances. Widening of the dental arches in conjunction with nasal breathing has brought relief to many who suffer from asthma-like symptoms.
Anxiety has long been linked to breathing and meditation. An oxygenated body is a calm body. Mouth-breathing diminishes the quality of the oxygen your body receives and often creates an environment that narrows the airway. Nasal breathing allows air to be warmed, filtered, and humidified prior to reaching the lungs. Many anxiety sufferers have reduced or sometimes eliminated attacks by learning nasal breathing.
Allergies plague many of us, and it seems that the number of allergens is increasing rapidly. Congestion, sinus inflammation, and post-nasal drip that occurs from seasonal and environmental allergies are often a result of a narrowed airway. Especially in cases where the sufferer experiences year-long “allergies.”
If you experience any of the 5 A’s of airway obstruction, myofunctional therapy may be a great treatment option.
ADHD and Apnea. Usually together since 95% of patients with sleep apnea have attention deficits that are misdiagnosed as ADHD. Myofunctional therapy has been studied and proven effective at reducing obstructive sleep apnea and snoring.
The 1-Minute Breathing Test
Probably the easiest way to determine myofunctional therapy necessity is to take our 1-minute breathing test.
Sit upright in a chair with your feet flat on the floor and take in a deep breath. Notice you’re using your mouth or your nose during breathing.
Were your lips sealed?
Where was your tongue positioned?
Did you feel the breath in your chest or your belly?
Now repeat the breathing test, but this time place your tongue up against the roof of the mouth, just behind your teeth, then inhale and exhale exclusively through the nose.
Compare the two tests.
If you used your mouth, had your tongue pressed against your teeth, or possibly on the floor of the mouth. Myofunctional therapy would be of the most benefit to you.
My mom always said it is always better to see it on paper. Our airway assessment has a slew of common symptoms associated with a dysfunctional airway. It’s simple, free, and does not require an email address opt-in. Take our online assessment to see how many symptoms you experience that you may not have even known were linked.
You may be unaware that airway-centered disorders involve a series of problems that impact breathing. Poor breathing, especially during sleep, increases the risk of sleep disorders, Alzheimer’s, asthma, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, depression, reflux, and many other health concerns. In children, mouth breathing can create a lasting negative impact on childhood growth, craniofacial development, learning, and behavior.
Health care is continuously evolving, and with new innovations, people are living longer, yet not necessarily healthier lives. See my lifespan vs. healthspan blog.
Traditional wait-and-see or treating symptoms and management of airway-centered disorders are now replaced with preventive healthcare alternatives. Not mainstream western medicine, so these disorders sometimes go undiagnosed.
We are not the same. Yet, we are all human, bleed the same, and share the same basic needs for survival. However, when it comes to health we should not forget that there are individual variables that should be accounted for. Diet, exercise, genetics, various disorders, deficiencies, exposure to sunlight, climate, conditions… The list goes on and on with factors that impact our health.
Access to that healthcare has become a nationwide issue, with affordability being the biggest challenge. Unfortunately, with healthcare costs, and the amount of uninsured/underinsured on the rise, it is increasingly apparent that alternative treatments, including airway, are a privilege.
Inflation is the word of 2022. Gas prices are sky-high, and prices have risen on many products and services. It is almost more affordable to purchase a cow than to buy a gallon of milk. There is not a lot of money these days for unnecessary treatments and services. Myofunctional therapy is no exception.
“Studies repeatedly demonstrate that uninsured people are less likely than those with insurance to receive preventive care and services for major health and chronic diseases.”
I definitely experienced the gaps in health care over the past two years during COVID and CANCER.
With my recent cancer diagnosis, it’s a challenge these days to find providers that treat you as an individual and are not treating insurance and protocols. What will the insurance pay for? There are many people that have lack access to health services. We’re looking for ways to transform healthcare and serve people better to increase access to care. I definitely went outside traditional healthcare and sought alternatives to care after what I experienced. Fortunately, I was in a place where I knew what questions to ask and could afford that type of care.
I look forward to sharing the process and the journey and how we are going to be able to help meet your needs moving forward with action steps so you can take ownership of your health.
Healthcare is a billion-dollar industry. A significant portion of care is now being provided virtually and sometimes even more efficiently while they aren’t the same as in-person visits, they are effective.
For me, they worked really well at a crucial time. Video and telephone visits are now more common in a lot of settings. Not only are they more convenient for patients, but they also improve the quality of health care, reducing the barriers and access to care, like transportation, taking time off for work, finding someone for daycare, or paying for parking.
They might also be easier for people that have disabilities, are lower income, are older, and don’t want to leave the house. Telehealth options are definitely going to be the wave of the future.
Most insurance plans cover telehealth visits. It’s important to ask questions before you seek this type of care.
Telehealth options and alternative care are helping an already burned-in healthcare system by reducing the patient’s ability to access care.
Many people that have insurance don’t even use it. And more Americans are delaying medical treatment due to cost. Many Americans say they put off treatment for serious medical conditions over the past two years.
Especially because people are paying more just to have insurance, working harder for the increased cost, their deductible, and the portion not covered by insurance.
There’s a wide range of reasons that people put off seeking health care treatments: lack of time, lack of money, and trust are the main reasons that people say they put off health care. Healthcare is definitely a burden for most Americans. A Gallup poll said 63% of Americans describe our US healthcare system as being in a state of crisis, and people actually don’t trust our healthcare system the way they used to.
Prescription drugs are a large part of the cost of Medicare’s projected spending of $116 billion dollars on prescription drugs in 2019. The bottom line is after paying steep health insurance premiums, in some cases funding your own medical spending account. Americans are still left with large deductibles and copays that inhibit them from visiting a doctor for different medical symptoms which prevents them from seeking treatment more Related to the quality of care that they receive. There’s a lot of anxiety related to health care costs beyond the worry of personal finances.
The US healthcare system used to be among the best in the world; not sure that is the perception anymore. Americans reported borrowing an estimated $88 billion to pay for health care.
They’re tapping into their long-term savings and retirement funds to the tune of $126 billion just to pay for healthcare so that we’re working all of our lives and then spending our retirement on healthcare. The younger generation is not accepting that they don’t want to repeat the past.
And they’re predicting healthcare costs will continue to increase over the next two years. An overwhelming majority of Americans believe the government is not doing enough to ensure that prescription drugs and health care costs remain affordable.
Americans have little faith in our government and our healthcare system. I believe more and more people are going to go outside of the system for alternatives that will work instead of a pill for every ill. They are leaving them with side effects. My option was to do nothing, have it cut out, burned out, or poisoned to remove my cancer. I did not like any of those options. I was afraid it would spread, so I opted to cut it out. I wish I had done more research before I made that decision.
I was afraid it would spread or there would be an increased risk of pain from not seeking treatment. It’s important that we get as much information as we can to make informed decisions.
When seeking alternatives related to healthcare, it’s important we start as early as we can with our kids and prevention, and then maybe we won’t have to worry about the rising healthcare costs. It will take changing habits now for it to have an effect on our grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
I love myofunctional therapy, but it is not an overall wellness program. It can facilitate a method for the body to aid in its own healing and impact certain aspects of health. I have seen it make great changes in the lives of many patients.
Everyone makes many changes on the path to wellness. If every rock was not turned over, maybe there are factors in your body or life that are unknown contributors to your pain, posture, sleep, or poor health.
Whether it is changing habits, lifestyle, diet, finances, work, or otherwise, it is never just myofunctional therapy alone that alters life. It is important to collaborate with other modalities and specialties in your journey to health. Myofunctional therapy is not the answer to everything. It is amazing, wonderful, and many times life-changing, but it is never the sole thing at play in recovery and wellness.
Does it work? Absolutely. When it’s done right, so choose your providers wisely.
Orofacial myofunctional disorders are not the only reason why you may be experiencing headaches, fatigue, excessive gas, grinding, reflux, and neck and back pain. Take the same symptoms to anyone with a healthcare modality of treatment, and they will claim something different to be the source of your issues. We have not advanced to a crystal ball diagnosis, providers do the best they can with the knowledge they have.
That is why it takes a team of interdisciplinary health providers to successfully address the many manifestations of an airway-centered disorder. A dentist or orthodontist to address crowded, misaligned teeth and gum disease. An ENT to address ear infections, tongue ties, deviated septum, swollen tonsils, and adenoids. A craniosacral therapist, osteopath, or another bodyworker to assist in relieving facial tension. A speech therapist, occupational therapist, or physical therapist to address any feeding, speech, sensory, or motor problems. Last but not least, a myofunctional therapist to address the oral function compensations and dysfunction. Each provider plays an integral role in managing various aspects of possible presentations of symptoms. This is not a complete list of providers we may need to collaborate with for optimal health.
The cost of myofunctional therapy varies between providers and is rarely covered by insurance. Leaving many with the bulk of the cost for many services necessary for optimal outcomes.
Increasing the concern is the reality that less than 1% of eligible healthcare professionals have been informed, properly educated, and made capable of adequately treating airway-centered disorders. For a dentist, physician, or dental hygienist, accessibility will continue to be a problem for the foreseeable future. However, we can combat that by working together. Educate yourself on all your options and share new things you learn with others to expand your knowledge. The more we know as a collective, the less we can be held down by the restraint of lack of information.
The budget you have available to address all of your needs when treating Airway Centered Disorder is also an essential consideration. If your budget is tight, consider working with one member of the team at a time if a team approach is required or delaying treatment while you save. Alternatively, consider working independently if you have no sensory issues or difficulty learning without physical instruction.
Regardless of which methods or providers you choose, ensure you make the decision to seek the treatment you need in a manner that serves you, your family, and your budget to access alternative possibilities of long-term solutions.
Prioritizing treatment options, especially when you are on a budget, is essential to making care affordable. Myofunctional therapy may be one of several modalities to treat your problem, there are several instances when it can be delayed with no harm.
- When the palatal expansion is necessary.Palatal expanders often fill the area of the palate essential for the tongue to rest on the roof of the mouth. For that reason, during treatment with that appliance, it may be recommended to postpone myofunctional therapy. This will not harm the expansion process or future oral function.
- When surgical procedures are necessary.
Surgical procedures in the head and neck region can often be beneficial to myofunctional therapy success. Therapy is necessary prior to tongue tie release and preferred prior to maxillomandibular advancement surgery. However, other surgeries, such as turbinate reduction and tonsillectomy therapy. Myofunctional therapy is often done after these procedures to ensure the best outcome. It can almost be likened to physical therapy required after a medical surgery, in that myo helps you recover once the previous blockades are addressed.
- When sleep apnea is severe.
Myofunctional therapy has been researched to be effective for those with mild to moderate sleep apnea. Severe cases of sleep apnea need to have medical treatments and monitoring to avoid the worst-case scenario. There would be little to no benefit in pursuing myofunctional therapy while diagnosed with severe sleep apnea.
When would you require myofunctional therapy?
There is usually never a dire need for myofunctional therapy. However, there are some cases where just looking at someone, I can tell myofunctional therapy is something that has been necessary for quite some time. You know you need myofunctional therapy and should not delay if you experience any one of the below:
- You are tongue-tied and undergoing a frenectomy or a release
- Your snoring is keeping loved ones up at night
- You are unable to maintain lip closure when relaxed
- You are actively undergoing orthodontic treatment and do not want it to relapse, OR you recently underwent treatment and are seeing a shift despite wearing retainers.
- You are over the age of 5 and still using a pacifier, thumb sucking, nail biting, object biting, lip biting or tongue sucking.
- You grind or clench your teeth AND have bleeding gums.
Myofunctional therapy does not have to be a non-essential expense. It is a very effective treatment that can help to boost health and wellness naturally by optimizing your own body’s oral function. It is critical to speak with a myofunctional therapist to determine your specific needs and if you can derive value from them or if you need to pursue alternate routes. Contact us today or schedule a free consultation to get started on your journey toward wellness.
The main messages expressed are that you’re never too old to believe in the impossible and that good always conquers evil. Though not the most unique message, it is not just a bunch of hocus pocus. It can help, especially if you have not had luck with conventional healthcare.
Some of the content in this blog came from: