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Didgeridoo Sleep Apnea and Snoring? How does playing help?
Researchers in Switzerland examined 25 patients who suffered from snoring and moderate obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, both common sleep disorders. Half the group were given daily 15 to 30 minute lessons in playing the didgeridoo. The study, published in the British Medical Journal's online edition found that those who played didgeridoo over a four-month trial period saw a significant improvement in their daytime sleepiness and apnea. Their partners also reported less disturbance from snoring. The researchers said training the upper airways through the breathing techniques required to play the didgeridoo was behind the improvement. "Our results may give hope to many people with moderate obstructive sleep apnea syndrome and snoring, as well as their partners," the report's authors said.
While results may vary, we have had customers get back to us. They report that our didgeridoo was easy to learn to play and get the circular breathing technique. They also have seen an improvement in their conditions.
didgeridoo modern
Your first Didgeridoo should sound excellent, play easily, and be super durable. We have over 10 years of experience playing and making Didgeridoos and can say with confidence that this is the best beginner Didgeridoo out there! This 47" polyresin didgeridoo is super easy to play, has a permanent rubber mouthpiece, and is tuned to the key of D, perfect for a beginner or intermediate player. Designed with thicker walls to produce a crisp clean tone. The internal bore is 1 5/8", we custom extrude this size to create optimal backpressure. This makes learning circular breathing and playing rhythms much easier. It comes with a no fuss rubber mouthpiece. Soft and comfortable, this mouthpiece is the perfect shape and size to learn with. It creates a good airtight seal for playing. Infused with natural oils for a light pleasing smell. Satisfaction guaranteed.
This great package includes the didgeridoo pictured above, a cloth travel bag, instruction booklet, and comprehensive mini CD (for a PC computer only). The mini CD has text, audio, and video lessons so you can learn quickly and start having fun right away! It also teaches circular breathing through a video series in easy gradual stages.
Brand new instrument - ready to play out of the box. Shipping is $13 - $18 (depending on your state) within the continental U.S. for 4-7 day Ground delivery. We also offer Post Office delivery. Faster delivery is available if you need it in a hurry!
All of our modern didgeridoos can help with sleep apnea, click here to see our full selection.
What is a Didgeridoo?
The didgeridoo is believed to be the worlds oldest wind instrument, dating back thousands of years. It originates as a musical instrument of the North Australian Aborigine. The didgeridoo is traditionally played accompanied with clap sticks and/or the clapping together of boomerangs in Corroborees (ceremonial dances). Players can also tap out rhythms on the side of the didgeridoo using fingers or sticks. A didgeridoo is traditionally made from one of many species of Eucalyptus branches or saplings. Species of Eucalyptus number in the hundreds but only about a dozen species are used for didgeridoo making. The Eucalyptus is naturally hollowed out by termites whose nests abound in the millions in Australia. It takes at least a year for the termites to hollow a tree out. Harvesting has to be timed so that the wall thickness of the instrument is not too thin or not too thick. It has to be "just right". Making for the perfect instrument! The varying length of the wood that is sawed off and its thickness and shape will determine which key the instrument will be in. Shorter lengths yield higher pitches where as longer lengths yield lower pitches.
Didgeridoos generally range in keys from a high "G" to a low "A". A common "C" didgeridoo will be two octaves below middle "C" of a piano. The keys of C and D are the easiest keys to learn how to play on the didgeridoo. To hear the different keys click here. Bark is usually stripped from the outside and the termites removed. A rim of beeswax can then be applied to reduce the diameter of a large opening down to more playable sized aperture. About an inch and a quarter, similar to a tuba sized mouthpiece. Wax also creates a good airtight seal for the mouth and makes it more comfortable to play. The instrument can then be decorated with ochre paintings that symbolize a tribes food and/or totems.
How long each day do I need to play the didgeridoo to help with sleep apnea and snoring?
15 to 30 minutes a day.
How to play Didgeridoo
You don't have to pay for instructional materials on how to play the didgeridoo. You can learn for free with our instructions and sound clips. The technique of how to play the didgeridoo is unique among wood instruments. You blow down the tube with loose lips creating a vibration that echoes down the tube coming out amplified as a drone. Similar to a tuba but even looser and more relaxed. It is important to stay relaxed, trying too hard will tighten your muscles which contradicts the need to create loose lips and face. Buzz your lips while gently pushing air down the tube. The lip vibration is similar to giving someone a "raspberry". It can help to stick your bottom lip out a little more than the top lip. To improve the tonal quality of the drone it is important to try to tighten your lips a little after the drone is started, this will increase the pitch and really get the didgeridoo going! If you tighten up too much the drone will abruptly stop and you get a sound we call the "Blow Out". People often ask us how we can get a didge to play so loud and have such an eerie quality to the drone. The secret to a good drone is starting loose and tightening up the lips until you almost Blow Out. If you ride the fine line of playing tightly with almost doing a "Blow Out" you can achieve a loud and intense drone. Getting a good drone is critical because the other noises you make while playing a didgeridoo happen while the drone is going. To listen to some other sounds go to our sounds and rhythms page. It takes most people a bit of practice to be able to drone so don't get frustrated and practice, practice, practice. But, you shouldn't really think of it as practice because this instrument is fun to learn! Now try to drone as long as possible with one breath. While learning you will waste a lot of air discovering how to make the noise. As soon as possible start limiting the amount of air you use up. You only need enough air to vibrate the lips, this is what creates the noise. The toughest part of didgeridoo playing is learning to circular breathe. Circular breathing allows a player to be able to continually blow air down the didgeridoo without ever stopping for breath.
Customer Testimonial 4/11/2012

I was diagnosed with sleep apnea about two years ago. I followed the usual path of getting hooked up to a ventilating machine which, for me, was a bit of hell on earth. I know people who regain sleep and dreams again because of the machine, but I had a different experience. I went through several different masks and nostril pads trying to find the right fit without success. Even though it was a quiet machine, the sound of air pushing through the mask made a Darth Vader rumble that caused my wife to sleep in another room by the third night. I often found myself awake listening to the swoosh of my own breathing. And when I did sleep, I sometimes woke noticing I wasn’t breathing, waiting for the machine to engage, to force air into my lungs, until I finally realized I had better take a breath. After a tired month of trying, I packed up the machine, called my doctor and asked for a different approach.

He was unsure what else to suggest. “That’s the gold standard,” he said.
“Yeah, those machines are expensive,” I said.
“No,” he said. “it’s the gold standard because it is the most rigorously studied and proven approach for resolving apnea incidents.”
“But it doesn’t work for me,” I said. “There’s got to be another approach.”
He referred me to a research article that claimed didgeridoo playing helped a small group of patients reduce their apnea episodes.  “Why don’t you read the article, follow the regime it lists and let me know how it goes for you.”
I figured that if practicing didge for 15-30 minutes a day could reverse my sleep-apnea and keep me off that machine, it was worth trying. I ordered my first didgeridoo online.
The results have been life altering. I have more energy throughout the day. I sleep better at night, and I dream again. It took about a week of playing 30-60 minutes a day (I was a bit of a zealot—I wanted to be healthy again!) before I noticed a change. I don’t know anyone who plays nearby, so I watched and listened to YouTube videos (thanks to all of you out there teaching so generously online!).  I didn’t worry about sounding good. I just experimented with sounds and kept the drone going. I eventually learned circular breathing, and that opened up the possibilities.
I continue to play for 15-30 minutes everyday, although I miss a day or two every now and then without any noticeable difference in my sleep. But I travel as part of my work, and occasionally have missed several days in a row. Each time my snoring has gotten louder and I begin feeling run down. But after a day or two of practicing, I return to sound sleep. I just ordered the travel didge and am very happy with its tone, light weight and packability. Thanks so much for your innovative design. The didge continues to be good medicine for me and a lot of fun to play--wherever I go! ~Doug
Didgeridoo and Circular Breathing
Circular breathing is what allows players to perform continuously without stopping for breath. Many great wind instrument players such as Miles Davis and Kenny G use circular breathing. Practice these exercises to learn how to circular breathe! Exercise 1: Fill your mouth with water and push a stream of water out using only your tongue and cheek muscles. Make sure not to use any pressure from the lungs to help. Stay relaxed and breathe in and out with your nose while making the stream. Keep trying until it feels very comfortable. This is a good exercise to do in the shower! Exercise 2: Get a straw and a cup of water. Twist the end of the straw so that almost no air can come out. Push air through the straw and into the water creating bubbles. Breathe in and out with your nose while doing this as in exercise 1. Keep the pressure even and the flow of bubbles smooth. Exercise 3: Slowly transition to just breathing in with your nose and keep the bubbles going nonstop. Master this until the muscle contractions you are using feel totally comfortable and the bubbles are flowing smoothly. Exercise 4: You are now circular breathing. Keep your cup and straw right next to you. Try to play your didge and circular breathe (it is just a bigger straw). You will find this difficult so go right back to the straw and water to practice again. Then, try on the didge again. Keep going back and forth between the cup and water and the didge until you can successfully do it on your didge. Take a look at the diagrams on the next page for a visual explanation of circular breathing.
circular breathing
circular breathing
Figure A Figure B
While droning and pushing air out with your lungs fill your mouth and cheeks up with air. Tighten your throat to separate your mouth air from your lung air. Expel the air that is in your mouth only and keep the drone going.
circular breathing
circular breathing
Figure C Figure D
Quickly sniff air with your nose to replenish your lungs while your mouth keeps the drone going. Switch back to pushing air with the lungs and repeat the steps, your circular breathing and the drone never stops!
A Story On How The Didgeridoo Came To Be...
Three men were camped out on a cold night in the outback. One of the men told another to put a log on the fire, because the fire was getting low and it was very cold. So, the other man turned and grabbed a log, which was awfully light to the touch, for it was hollow. As he went to drop it into the fire, he noticed the entire length was covered with termites. He did not know what to do, for he could not throw the branch into the fire, because it would kill the termites, and his friends were telling him to do so because it was so cold. So, he carefully removed all the termites from the outside of the log by scooping them into his hand, and he deposited them inside the hollow branch. Then he raised the branch to his lips and blew the termites into the air. The termites blown into the air became the stars, and the first didgeridoo was created.
The Didgeridoo Store | 49522 Road 426 | Oakhurst, California 93644
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