The ‘A-I-U-Be’ exercise is especially aimed at people who answer yes to one or more of the following:
・Do you suffer from asthma, atopic dermatitis or allergies such as pollinosis (hay fever)?
・Do you often feel fatigued or lethargic?
・Is your mouth slightly open when relaxed?
・Are you after a simple but effective way to improve your health?
The following are caused by breathing through the mouth, which in turn weaken the immune system:
・Excessive amounts of bacteria in the mouth
・Damage to the lymph nodes in the neck (also known as parapharyngeal lymph disorder)
・Shrinking mucous membrane lining in the nose (also known as nasal mucosa atrophy)
This ‘A-I-U-Be’ exercise was developed after I started to notice in my patients a strong positive correlation between rheumatoid arthritis and halitosis (bad breath). As I began to investigate the reason behind this, I discovered that breathing through the mouth rather than the nose can have a number of serious health implications.
Mouth breathing introduces ‘bad’ bacteria into your mouth, which is the main cause of bad breath. It also weakens the immune system, which can exacerbate inflammation caused by the arthritis. Consequently, addressing your habit of mouth breathing can have a positive effect on your general health, not just your breath.
The ‘A-I-U-Be’ exercise seeks to do just that by training yourself to breathe through your nose naturally. As with any exercise, it requires constant practice but if you do, you will start to see improvements to your health.
Do 30 repetitions of the set of four different exercises every day, making sure to exaggerate each motion. (I find it best to do them when no one else is around, e.g. in the bath).
As the exercises require a bigger range of motion than you would normally use when talking, you may find them tiring at first if you’re doing them correctly. Instead of doing all 30 repetitions in one go, try doing 10-15 sets 2-3 times a day, building it up until you can do the full 30.
A Open your mouth wide and say “ahhhh” just like you would at the doctor’s.
I Stretch your mouth sideways and say “eeeee” just like you would at the dentist.
U Pucker your lips and say “ooooo”
Be Say “blegggghhhh”, sticking out your tongue as far it goes
Do not push yourself too hard when doing these exercises. For those who have temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) or experience pain when doing them, decrease the amount of repetitions or focus on the second (I) and third (U) exercises. If you have trouble doing the fourth (Be) exercise, try slowly sucking on a hard candy, which will not only exercise your tongue but also stimulate your brain as well.
There is no cost to doing these exercises. However, my experience has shown that there is great benefit to it. I encourage you to start doing them today.