WHAT IS OROFACIAL MYOLOGY?
Orofacial myology (also called orofacial myofunctional therapy) is a series of therapeutic exercises that aid in neuromuscular repatterning to help establish nasal breathing, lip seal, and correct tongue posture while resting, speaking, chewing and swallowing.
WHAT DOES THERAPY LOOK LIKE?
A typical session is 20-60 minutes, during which the patient learns a series of exercises addressing oral function, habit elimination, breathing, and sleep.
The patient performs exercises at home for two weeks in between sessions.
A 12-18 session program is the standard length of therapy, but therapy recommendations depend on the patient’s age and severity of disorders.
If necessary, pre- and post-operative surgical care is included.
Recommendations for care from other providers may be indicated.
WHAT DOES OROFACIAL MYOLOGY ADDRESS?
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF THERAPY?
Like physical therapy is used to restore function and movement to the body as a whole, orofacial myology does the same by retraining the muscles of the face, neck and mouth (as well as the brain) in order to eliminate incorrect muscle patterns (OMDs) that have developed over time. In addition to muscle retraining, orofacial myology can contribute to healthy breathing patterns by focusing on exercises that enforce slow, nasal, diaphragmatic breathing. Muscle retraining, healthy breathing and proper habits can aid in:
- young children's facial, airway and dental development
- proper chewing, swallowing, and digestion
- preventing recurrent ear infections
- speech articulation
- healthier day- and night-time breathing
- improving quality of sleep
- increasing alertness
- orthodontic retention
- reducing TMD pain
- reducing snoring or sleep apnea
All of which can boost self-esteem and improve overall health and quality of life.
Success in therapy is dependent upon consistent daily exercise until proper muscle function is restored and maintained. It takes time, persistence, and commitment from the patient and family members to get optimal results. Complete and optimal treatment often requires a multidisciplinary approach utilizing other healthcare professionals, orofacial myology being just one piece.