• Paula Anderson, R.D.H.

How Myofunctional Therapy Can Reduce Stress

Updated: May 6

10:30AM on Monday morning, you sip your coffee that has gone cold as you look down a mountain of emails and tasks. “ONLY 2 HOURS INTO THE WORK WEEK?” You think. Just then you remember that you forgot to pull fish out of the freezer for dinner, looks like take out, but where will you find the time? Little Jimmy has baseball at 6 P.M., and the stress begins.

While there currently aren’t any medical developments that eliminate your to-do list, there definitely are ways to help you manage it. In fact Orofacial-Myofunctional Therapy will help in a number of areas that are directly linked to our stress levels. So if you or someone you love is feeling stressed out the good news is you are in the right place.


How does Myofunctional Therapy actually reduce our stress level? The Answer: In quite a few ways.


Improving Our Sleep: According to the American Institute of Stress 48% of people have difficulty sleeping due to stress related concerns. Unfortunately this can be a vicious cycle if someone is not getting proper sleep hours or quality. Myofunctional Therapy works to stop this slide by training your body to reset itself to a natural breathing cycle; reducing snoring, removing airway restrictions and helping the body naturally relax at bedtime.


Better Pulmonary Function: Orofacial Myology is designed to reset many basic functions of the respiratory system but at the forefront is promoting habitual nasal breathing. When we nasal breath our body intakes naturally occurring nitric oxide (NO), this will help regulate our Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and Oxygen (O) levels to their optimal ratios in our blood stream. Imagine being taught a few exercises that can improve your heart health! That's what nasal breathing does, and Myofunctional Therapy will give you everything you need to achieve this. In fact, researchers J.O. Lundberg and G. Settergren found that restoring proper NO inhalation reduced the PVRI (Pulmonary Vascular Resistance Index) of their patients by up to 11%, that means that blood was pumping with 11% less resistance just by nasal breathing!


Better Oxygenation: You might have heard of the fight or flight response? We all have it deep within the respiratory system of our brains. But did you know that being under oxygenated can trigger this response? In fact much like the sleeping patterns we talked about our oxygen levels can also be a vicious cycle as stress actually changes our breathing cycle. Hyperventilation and quick shallow breaths (over-breathing) cause symptoms of anxiety and in some cases result in panic attacks and mania. In children under oxygenation can be causality for hyperactivity, anxiety, lack of focus and under performing in school and other social settings. Researchers are beginning to show the strong link between not getting enough oxygen and frequently diagnosed conditions like ADD and ADHD.


So how do you know if you are experiencing heightened stress levels? A recent study published in the national library of health showed that stress produced these results in the study participants.


  • Irritability: 45%

  • Anxiety: 36%

  • Feelings of Sadness: 34%

  • Acid Reflux: 26%

  • Fatigue: 41%

  • Headaches (More than twice a week): 36%

  • Muscle Tension: 23%

  • Worry: 36%


Patients also reported:


  • Sexual Problems

  • Forgetfulness

  • Weight Changes (Gain and Loss)

  • Appetite Changes

  • Digestive Issues


Yikes, that is a lot of bad that can result from chronic stress!


Long story short, stress wreaks havoc on our bodies. All of us need to be sensitive to how it can affect us in unique ways. That is why Myofunctional Therapy is such a powerful tool to combat daily stress. You don’t have to change your routine. Plus, traditional wisdom like healthy diet and regular exercise only help to assist the progress made from Myofunctional Therapy.

So let's recap, if you ever had a friend or parent tell you to “take a few deep breaths”, they weren’t wrong. Today the field of orofacial-myology takes this ages-old idea and creates a habitual pattern of breathing to permanently reduce your stress level by optimizing body chemistry, improving sleep, and reducing airway resistance. With just a few weeks of myofunctional therapy it is possible to see life changing stress reduction. If you think you could benefit from managing anxiety, reducing worry and keeping your body out of the fight or flight mode, send me a message today.


If you have questions about Stress Relief or any orofacial, myofunctional, airway or maxillary questions in general send me a message and I will be happy to help you.

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