Oral Systemic Balance Therapy

New Science

Introduction To A New Science

Oral Systemic Balance® Therapy is innovative and scientific and developed from over twenty-five years of work by Doctor Farrand Robson of Tacoma, Washington. OSB Therapy helps people with snoring, sleep disordered breathing, muscular pain problems, and other concerns by recruiting normal body mechanisms that restore or maintain normal function.

All the air you breathe goes over the back of the tongue and through the throat. Any disturbance in the normal muscle reflex mechanisms that maintains muscle tone and tongue position will result in some level of interference with the primary oral functions of breathing, swallowing, and speaking. Many of these muscular reflexes that keep the throat open are the result of the shape and position of teeth and are modified by routine dental procedures. When the tongue is properly positioned and airflow is unrestricted, oral functions are effortless and effective and sleep is restful and pleasant.

Difficulty with breathing, swallowing, and speaking often can be traced to the configuration of the mouth. This is most often related to problems involving muscle tone of the tongue. An excessively narrow or broad mouth, crowded teeth, loss of teeth, bulky dentures or partial dentures, and other oral conditions all can interfere with tongue space as well as interfere with the normal reflex mechanisms that maintain muscle tone. In such cases, the only place the tongue can go during oral function is backward, into the throat. Lack of appropriate tongue space can be apparent when observing the tongue, and is obvious when the tongue is scalloped or when tongue thrust is present.

Disordered breathing is usually caused by tongue obstructing airflow down the throat. In this situation, every inhalation requires extra effort and puts negative pressure (suction) on the soft tissues of the throat. The chest wall works harder than normal to draw air in, and the resultant forceful and turbulent airflow over these enlarged tissues produces snoring. The continued effort of the chest wall that is required to maintain breathing interferes with normal cardiovascular dynamics and interrupts and/or prevents deeper and more restful sleep stages. People who snore often sleep lightly or fitfully, awakening at the smallest disturbance, and often blaming their awakenings on the need to empty the bladder. They still feel tired on rising and often can sleep for ten or more hours without feeling fully rested.

There are several systems that aid in the body’s adjustment to keep the throat open. One of these compensations is clenching and grinding of the teeth which causes a reflex called the Jaw Tongue Reflex (JTR) that actually opens the throat more and makes breathing easier. This is a frequent cause of Jaw pain and headache pain in the temples and behind the eyes. When severe, many people can have nausea and be very sensitive to light and sounds.

Forward head posture, which changes the posture of the whole body, is another compensation that lets us breathe more easily. Like the clenching of teeth, forward head posture may be associated with muscular pain as muscle contracts to maintain breathing. The weight of the head in a forward position puts an enormous strain on the body, especially muscles of the neck, shoulders, and back. This can result in pain anywhere in the axial skeleton. People with this posture may experience difficulty and have less stability with Physical Therapy and Chiropractic care since restoration of normal head posture makes it more difficult to breathe freely. The head and body will again move forward to reopen the throat. OSB Therapy can reduce or eliminate the need of these posture alterations and allow the body to self correct. In this way, OSB Therapy complements these other therapies.

Another major compensation that the body makes for an obstructed throat is to activate the sympathetic "fight or flight" component of the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS), releasing neurotransmitters such as adrenaline. Adrenaline facilitates muscle function, allowing stronger and more rapid muscle contraction, which helps the body adjust to maintain an open throat. This is the reason that we feel more on edge at the same time we are experiencing muscular pain. Adrenaline also raises the heart rate, which is one reason people with nighttime breathing problems, also known as choking, may wake with the heart racing. There are many other effects from this adrenaline release, including digestive and stomach acid concerns.

The adrenaline that is needed to maintain breathing is often associated with diagnoses of anxiety, depression, and even panic attacks. As Doctor Robson of OSB frequently says, "My patients who are viciously choking’ appear to be anxious, depressed, and on edge." The on edge feelings are often thought to be "stress,” "anxiety," or other psychological concerns but in reality are a survival "fight or flight" response.