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Posted: August 30, 2006
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Reduce Sleep Disturbances

Aboriginal Didgeridoo Lessons Reduce Sleep Disturbances

Immediate Release: August 30, 2006

Pioneer of Dental Sleep Medicine Dr. Ira Shapira Seeks Didgeridoo Instructor.

Highland Park, IL -After reviewing a promising sleep apnea study published in the British Medical Journal, Chicago Dentist Ira Shapira (a pioneer of dental sleep medicine) purchased an Aboriginal musical instrument called a Didgeridoo, and is seeking an experienced Didgeridoo instructor to incorporate the playing of this ancient rhythmic wind instrument in his sleep apnea treatment program.

"For some of the 20 million Americans with sleep apnea this musical exercise may help them sleep better", comments Dr. Ira Shapira. "With over $100 billion in lost productivity, medical expenses, sick leave, and property damage reported annually, sleep apnea is a costly medical problem with a variety of treatment options, including Didgeridoo lessons."

Known as the oldest wind instrument in the world, the origins of the Didgeridoo may go back as far as 40,000 years. The Aborigines squat on the ground laying the end of the instrument, which can exceed six feet in length, on the earth to play. Though only one "note" can be played (called a drone), overtones and vocal sounds from the player give it a rich sound. A technique called "circular breathing" allows the player to play the instrument for long periods of time, without a break in the sound.

The British Medical Journal study in Zurich, Switzerland included 25 people and Didgeridoo lessons and regular practice sessions. After 4 months patients reported less sleepiness scored by Epworth sleepiness test and their partners reported that their sleep was less disturbed. There was a significant reduction in the apnea/hypopnea index as well. Learning circular breathing is somewhat difficult and the participants had a series of lessons from an experienced player. It is believed that this training reduces the collapsibility of the upper pharyngeal airway.

Dr. Shapira is well known for treating hundreds of sleep deprived Chicagoans who suffer from disruptive snoring and life threatening sleep apnea with custom night-use oral appliances that keep the airway open, ensuring a restful night sleep and lowering the patients' risk of stroke, heart disease, and sleep-related car accidents. Dr. Shapira purchased the Didgeridoo to investigate implementing Didgeridoo lessons and practice as a pharyngeal exercise to be used with oral appliances and possibly in lieu of appliances with additional treatments such as weight loss and positional training.

A charter member of the Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine and founding member of Dental Organization of Sleep Apnea (DOSA), Dr. Shapira is one of the first credentialed dentists to treat snoring and sleep apnea. Over the past twenty years, this Sleep Medicine Expert has made significant contributions to the advancement of OSA dental treatments. Dr. Shapira is experienced in the use of more than 60 oral appliances, contributes the latest clinical research, and consults with the best dental sleep medicine experts worldwide.

For more information about sleep apnea and related disorders, contact Dr. Shapira at 847-623-5530 or visit

About Dr. Shapira

Ira L. Shapira, D.D.S., F.I.C.C.M.O. is principal of Delany Dental Care, Ltd., Highland Park, Illinois, and is also the Director of the Dental Sleep Medicine Program at the Sleep and Behavior Medicine Institute and an member of the Advisory Board of the Sleep Medicine Center of Excellence. Dr. Shapira is credentialed in dental sleep medicine and a charter member of the Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (, founding member of Dental Organization of Sleep Apnea (DOSA), a diplomat of the Academy of Pain Management, and a fellow of The International College of Craniomandibular Disorders.

Dr. Shapira completed his Doctor of Dental Surgery at Loyola University Chicago in 1977, and is a graduate of Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies. He is a member of in the Chicago Dental Society, American Dental Association Illinois Dental Society, Academy of General Dentistry, American Equilibration Society, and Academy of Craniofacial Pain.

Dr. Shapira enjoys leisure time with his wife Elise and anything to do with his two children. He collects animation art, travels, plays tennis, and an avid reader.

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