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Orthotropics exercises are do-it-yourself techniques involving tongue placement pioneered by a British orthodontist, Dr.Mike Mew. Mewing, a technique named after him, is one of the orthotropic exercises that has become a trend just recently but has been practiced for a while.
Medical professionals and some orthodontists recommend orthotropic exercises as a way to:
- Correct speech impediment
- Define the jaw
- Alleviate pain on jaw-related issues
- Improve swallowing functions
It is vital to see a doctor for a proper diagnosis before hopping on the mewing trend.
Do Orthotropic Exercises Work?
Mewing works by repositioning the tongue in a new resting place. Most people who use this technique believe that it can help change your face’s shape and make it look thinner if done over a specific time.
A quick search on YouTube will show you several people who have tried these exercises and have had results—not forgetting a couple of videos that debunk the craze as well.
People who advocate for orthotropic exercises believe that the exercise does not change the face structure; instead, not mewing can transform the jaw for the worse. However, these exercises can be used as corrective therapy for children with tongue posture issues that might cause irregular bites and speech impediments, according to a study.
Some medical professionals fear that patients who might need surgery or orthodontic work might try orthotropic exercises rather than seeking professional help to get the problem fixed.
How to Practice Orthotropic Exercises
If you require orthotropic exercises, your doctor or speech therapist will select several exercises that will help with the appearance of your jawline and swallowing function. Do not try any exercise on this list without consulting your doctor first.
Your doctor will create a unique and customized plan for you. This will include the amount of time and repetition each exercise should take as well as the rest period for every exercise.
Mewing involves flattening your tongue against the roof of the mouth. This movement will help realign your jawline and your teeth.
To perform the mewing technique, you need to relax your tongue and make sure that it’s placed against the mouth’s roof, including the back of your tongue.
It will take some time to get used to since you are used to having your tongue resting away from the roof of your mouth. After some time, your muscles will get used to it, and you will get used to the right mewing position.
It is recommended that you mew every time, even when taking liquids.
However, it is essential to note that maxillofacial deformities are corrected through orthodontics or surgery. So it would be best if you didn’t assume that mewing will fix the issue you may have.
Isokinetic (Dynamic) Shaker
This exercise should be performed twice with a rest in between the sets. A medical professional will determine the number of repetitions you will need to do.
Most clinicians will advise you to take a two-minute rest and perform the exercise as many times as recommended by the clinician. Click here to watch a video of how to do the exercise
However, the number of sets is patient-specific, so ignore the repetitions being done on this video.
For this exercise, you will need to place saliva in your mouth and have it in the middle of your tongue. Make sure that you keep your lips closed and tight together. Then pretend to swallow a whole grape.
As it is the same for most exercises on this list, the number of repetitions are patient-specific and are determined by a medical professional.
For this exercise, you will need to move your lower jaw as forward as possible. Make sure that your lower teeth are in front of your upper teeth.
Patients that have undergone jaw replacement should take extra caution when performing this exercise to ensure they don’t stress the jaw bone.
The number of repetitions for this exercise is also patient-specific.
Click here to see how it’s done.
Isometric (Static) Shaker
The doctor sets the number of repetitions and the length of the sets. Make sure that you rest for one minute after every repetition.
Here is a video the exercise.
For this exercise, you will need to place a sugarless lollipop in your mouth and lick it. Lick the lollipop three times, then make an effortful swallow with your lips pressed together firmly.
Make sure you swallow as hard as you can. As it is with all the exercises on this list, the lollipop swallowing exercise repetitions are patient-specific.
Click here to watch.
This exercise is a little different from the ones we have discussed above. You will need to place your index, middle, and ring fingers on your Adam’s apple. The Adam’s apple is the part at the front of your neck just beneath the chin.
Practice swallowing while holding Adam’s apple and feel it moving upwards when you swallow. Then swallows again when Adam’s apple reaches the highest point of the throat.
Then squeeze the throat muscles and hold them there for as long as your medical practitioner has directed.
The number of repetitions for the Mendelsohn Maneuver and its length of time is determined by your doctor
Here is an instructional video of the Mendelsohn Manoevoure
With this exercise, you will need to stick your tongue out of your mouth between your front teeth and bite it gently to hold it in place.
After that, you will need to swallow while keeping your tongue between your teeth. If you need to, you can let the tongue go in between swallows and the repeats.
The number of repetitions for this exercise is also determined by a doctor Click here for the instructional video.
The Supraglottic Manoeuvre is to be performed only when directed by a clinician. They should provide direction on which position the head should be at while performing this exercise. It can either be tucked, straight, right, or left.
You will need to take a deep breath, and you will need to swallow while holding your breath. After you swallow, you should then cough immediately. Before you practice this exercise with food or any liquid, perform it with your saliva first.
As is the case with exercises in this list, the number of repetitions are patient-specific.
Click here to watch the video on how it’s done.
Tongue range of motion
This exercise is performed when you hold your chin firmly in your left or right hand, then slowly stick your tongue far towards the corners of your mouth as much as you can.
Move your tongue as far as you can without moving your chin. Ensure your tongue is protruding, then slowly move it to the left side and repeat the exact 5 times. This is one set.
The number of sets is also patient-specific.
Every orthotropic exercise has a specific function, and it can solely be prescribed by a trained professional based on the patient’s needs. A skilled professional will customize your exercises based on your particular needs.
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