“Didjeridoo Helps Sleep Apnea,” Proclaims Ad for Didjeridoos

didgeridoo.jpgI don’t know WTF I have been emaling about, but Gmail’s adver-tastic sidebar (which tailors the ads it shows you to keywords in your mail) has been telling me for days now that playing Didjeridoo helps sleep apnea.
The website refers to articles in respected peer-reviewed journals like the British Medical Journal and Men’s Health (which also helpfully wants to tell me “The Best Places to Have Sex”) which suggest that playing the didj helps reduce daytime sleepiness in patients with sleep apnea.
In case you didn’t know, the didgeridoo, didjeridoo or “didj” is a musical instrument constructed by the aboriginal people of Australia from a 1-2 meter eucalyptus log hollowed out by termites, with wax added to the mouthpiece to build a seal between the instrument and the player’s lips. The didj creates a low drone somewhere between Tibetan chant, Tuvan throat-singing and the fencepost moaning of a metaphysical two-stroke in heat, high on moonshine and begging for some back-alley magical moped love.
Playing Didjeridoo requires the use of “circular breathing,” in which one inhales through the nose while exhaling through the mouth. The BMJ article, which adorably spells it “apnoea” (a little too foetal of them for my comfort) describes a Swiss study in which didj playing helped men with sleep apnea, a disease where the back of your throat collapses while you sleep, leading to choking sounds, gasping, possible heart failure and guaranteed kidney punches from your bedmates. The working hypothesis is that didj playing prevents the collapse of those airways, though it may also cause kidney punches, these ones from your neighbors.
Modern didj players don’t always stick to eucalyptus for their instruments; in addition to other varieties of log, some have been known to use plastic, including a housemate I once had who waxed the end of huge PVC pipes. Other modern varieties include the Didjeribone, a slidey cross between the didj and the trombone, and a variety invented by someone named Dr. Didj that features a variation on saxophone keys.
Incidentally, as a sleep apnea sufferer, I have never been able to play didjeridoo, no matter how stoned I get.
Strangely Lovecraftian Didjeridoo via Wikipedia.

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2 comments on ““Didjeridoo Helps Sleep Apnea,” Proclaims Ad for Didjeridoos
  1. Interesting, but as a horn player I learned circular breathing and it has never helped my Apnea. Only thing that has is my mask, and losing weight.

  2. I read about this when I first got diagnosed with apnea.
    Thought about taking up the didj, but really, the mask is more than sufficient.

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