Friday, July 27, 2012

Re-Examining Sleep Apnea

One of the health concerns I have investigated over the years is sleep apnea - the sleep disorder characterized by prolonged pauses in breathing while asleep, followed by gasping for air (often accompanied by snoring). Everyone who has ever observed my sleep patterns has commented on my bizarre, sometimes disturbing breathing (or lack thereof) during sleep, and I've always felt it would explain so many of my other daytime health challenges (headaches, chronic fatigue, anxiety, even digestive ailments - if we are not getting adequate oxygen and rest, wouldn't almost EVERYTHING suffer as a result?). However, two disappointing overnight sleep tests in different hospitals, years apart, showed no conclusive results. If the experts say "no," how capable do we feel of disagreeing? However, every so often the nagging thought returns, that I have to be my own best expert when it comes to my health and life experiences. So, during my latest bout of health-seeking appointments, I discussed with my acupuncturist and massage therapist the sleep apnea conundrum. Their responses were encouraging, and have given me hope to continue my quest for better health in this area.
My acupuncturist had an interesting suggestion: to try taking "Aerobic Oxygen" drops that you add to a glass of water both before bed, and upon waking, to help maintain blood oxygen levels even in the case of breathing disturbances. My own research revealed that there are also herbal formulas designed to help sleep apnea, by improving the quality of sleep and relaxation. Finally, my massage therapist said she would speak to a colleague about cranial sacral therapy for sleep apnea (she felt this might be especially helpful in my case, as I did sustain facial injuries as a child that may have had lasting consequences). Upon reading more about this, I discovered that there are many references to TMJ in relation to sleep apnea (TMJ is another definite problem of mine).... so, the plot thickens.
Interesting, isn't it? And yet we know that everything is related. I am at the early stages of this exploration, but will report any significant results as I experience them! For anyone suffering from chronic ailments, please do not give up... help can come from even the most unexpected of sources.

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