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Tongue Strengthening Exercises  

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Sclera
Estimable Member

I wrote this up in a private message, and then elaborated in another topic, but I thought it might be useful to people as a separate thread, given the improvements I've experienced since practicing these exercises especially. Everyone is different, but the below were the things that triggered a couple aha moments for me when I was really trying to understand my posterior third. Since strengthening and really getting my posterior third up (it basically touches my uvula all day), I have felt engagement in my neck muscles, and my mandible feels naturally pushed forward. 

Myofunctional therapy and real-time help with a professional was instrumental in my understanding of oral posture. If you can, I would really recommend getting a myofunctional therapist to properly learn the exercises and receive instruction/adjustments.

Strengthening my tongue was very important in understanding and reaching a new level of oral posture, and these are three exercises that made a huge difference for me, doing them every day in the morning and evening in front of the mirror:

1) Skinny Tongue — this video shows “fat tongue” too, but I only do Skinny Tongue. The key is to be able to puff up the middle of the tongue. You don’t want it to roll. Repeat 5 times or until tired.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d71MqwPkPvk

(It took me two weeks of daily practice to get my muscles to work correctly for the above.)

1b) Skinny Tongue 2nd phase -- Once you've got the hang of puffing the tongue--if this isn't happening already--in Skinny Tongue, focusing on the posterior third, try to get the tip of the tongue to retract INTO the tongue...if that makes ANY sense. So instead of the tip extending out, try to make the tip disappear into the tongue WHILE the midline of the tongue is puffed up. (The posterior third is seriously engaged this way. I had such a hard time with even getting my tongue to puff, that this ended up being easier to treat as a separate phase.)

2) Glide your tongue clockwise around your mouth between your teeth and your closed lips, making circular motions like a windmill. Then repeat counterclockwise. I think I started with 15 each direction, and then kept going up once it no longer made me sore.

3) With mouth wide open, try to fit your entire spread-out tongue up to the roof of your mouth with no part spilling past the teeth. Stuff it, suction, work it in there, do what you need to do so that when you look in the mirror, the tongue is entirely between your teeth and plastered to the roof of the mouth as evenly as possible. Hold. Then, still looking in the mirror, “click” your tongue down, thinking about your posterior third. Repeat.

(When I first did this, I could really feel my neck muscles engage, and it felt like my tongue flattened and arched. My tongue was so weak, though, that it constantly fell and felt like it was rolling/twisting to one side. Over time, the strength evened out. My posterior third feels like a wall lightly against my uvula, and the rest of my tongue is arched against my palate).

Swallowing Exercise

Looking in the mirror, holding a cheesy grin "slurp" in some saliva, or use a spray bottle to spray water through the corner of your mouth into your mouth, and still holding the cheesy grin, try to swallow that water with ONLY using the tongue, and making sure the posterior 3rd is doing the work. You shouldn't see any changes to your facial muscles, you should only see the neck activate from your tongue and throat.

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I cannot stress the importance of body posture enough, as well as fixing forward head posture. I saw much improvement when I made sure I was in the best posture I could be while doing these exercises.

My current focus is balancing the engagement of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd spots evenly, rather than only paying attention to the posterior 3rd.

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Posted : 28/12/2018 9:21 am
Apollo and Ayla31 liked
Abdulrahman
Reputable Member

Great Post!

Just to be clear, do you mean by "puff up" as expanding? So instead of the tongue being narrow and long (rolled?) you widen it and shorten it (puffed?)?

Who was your myofunctional therapist. How many session did you have? Do you do the tongue chewing exercise recommended by Dr. Mike Mew?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNocCJNicrc

my story: http://www.aljabri.com/blog/my-story/

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Posted : 28/12/2018 10:05 am
Sclera
Estimable Member

Yes, I have a hard time explaining this one! Puffing up as in expanding in height, but narrowing in width. You don't want to roll the tongue. It should resemble a cigar.

Sarah Hornsby was my therapist, and I had 4 sessions with her -- introductory, analysis, then two exercise sessions within two months where we went over the exercises, I then practiced on my own, and we readjusted and went over more. Unfortunately, due to economic reasons, I had to suspend the rest of my sessions. Our sessions were created around her analysis of my dysfunction, so I can't say what other people would need, but I hope to get back to her as soon as I can.

And I used to do the chewing gum Mew exercise where the tongue spreads out the gum and then forms it into a ball, and it does give me a workout. But I found that the myofunctional therapy exercises Sarah Hornsby taught me were instrumental in gaining strength as well as isolating performance of different parts of the tongue, rather than general strength. So I have better control now, as well. EDIT: For whatever reason, the gum chewing and other tongue exercises I learned from Mike Mew videos didn't give me the same results as the ones I listed above, but that's not to say they won't for others!

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Posted : 28/12/2018 10:33 am
Ayla31 liked
Abdulrahman
Reputable Member
Posted by: Sclera

Yes, I have a hard time explaining this one! Puffing up as in expanding in height, but narrowing in width. You don't want to roll the tongue. It should resemble a cigar.

ok, this got a little more confusing, the picture below is rolling, we obviously don't want that, but what is looking "like a cigar" then?

Posted by: Sclera

Our sessions were created around her analysis of my dysfunction, so I can't say what other people would need, but I hope to get back to her as soon as I can.

That's a very important point, I for example can''t roll my tongue, other can but can't engage suction.

my story: http://www.aljabri.com/blog/my-story/

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Posted : 28/12/2018 10:40 am
Sclera
Estimable Member

That's the best I can explain it! The closest I've found for Skinny Tongue Phase 1 (and I broke it into phases for myself, by the way) is from the video I listed, but that exercise is a little different from what I was taught:

 

Image result for skinny tongue

In the end, Sarah wanted me to try to not extend the tip of the tongue out into a point as this woman is doing. The way I was able to achieve the final result was by visualizing my tip retracting into the tongue. This made the medial sulcus puff up even more than before, and the tip of my tongue rounded out.

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Posted : 28/12/2018 10:51 am
Sclera
Estimable Member

Really, though, in my weird head, I feel like the tongue ends up looking more like the body of a stegosaurus toy. So lop off the neck, limbs, tail and spikes:

Large Stegosaurus Soft Dinosaur Toy 21 inch

EDIT: I made a terrible photoshopped version of what I mean:

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Posted : 28/12/2018 10:56 am
Abdulrahman
Reputable Member
Posted by: Sclera

Really, though, in my weird head, I feel like the tongue ends up looking more like the body of a stegosaurus toy. So lop off the neck, limbs, tail and spikes:

Large Stegosaurus Soft Dinosaur Toy 21 inch

 

Well, that's a creative way of showing it. I see now what you mean.

my story: http://www.aljabri.com/blog/my-story/

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Posted : 28/12/2018 11:05 am
Sclera
Estimable Member

Phew, LOL.

I was one of the people who could roll their tongue, but couldn't figure out how to suction. It wasn't until these exercises that something clicked for me, and I think it had to do with the isolation of parts of the tongue, so I could finally successfully make the arch that allowed the suction. Before I could only make the U to roll.

EDIT: I should also mention that my description of the "arch" of the tongue on the palate is based on my own narrow and vaulted palate. A wide enough palate would allow the tongue to be flat against it.
For a while, I had put my "skinny tongue" up, but the third exercise ended up becoming the base for my basic posture, which brought my mandible forward.

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Posted : 28/12/2018 11:12 am
ROY
 ROY
New Member

Hello, first of all, sorry for my english

I was who request him this exercises. Yesterday, I started to do this exercises and one aditional that consist in move your tongue in your lips and teeths, I think this is the most important. I feel now how the position of the third part of the tongue should be, and I'm happy because I think the vast majority of mewers don't understand that they need to strenght his tongue before they try to get an optimal position. Is like trying to get a good posture just standing up, no boy, you need to equilibrate yor muscles to get this.

So, thanks Sclera, this is the first step to bone remodeling.

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Posted : 28/12/2018 1:39 pm
Sclera liked
Buggy
Eminent Member
Posted by: Abdulrahman

ok, this got a little more confusing, the picture below is rolling, we obviously don't want that, but what is looking "like a cigar" then?

What's wrong with rolling the tongue?

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Posted : 28/12/2018 3:43 pm
Sclera
Estimable Member

Nothing is wrong with rolling the tongue in general, it's just not the object of the exercise.

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Posted : 28/12/2018 3:44 pm
Abdulrahman
Reputable Member

Today while having lunch I was thinking about all the exercises your therapist was having you do and it occurred to me how unique the tongue muscle is. It's sort of like a group of muscles that blend into one body.

While other muscles can only perform one or two functions, the tongue can move and flex in so many directions. It can contract at any point in it's body, hence it massive range of actions. I think all of those different exercises are there to help fix specific deficiencies that each individual might have.

my story: http://www.aljabri.com/blog/my-story/

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Posted : 29/12/2018 11:17 am
Sclera liked
Abdulrahman
Reputable Member

One important question, what is your inter molar width? If it is under 38mm, do you feel you are able to posture your tongue fully with no restriction?

my story: http://www.aljabri.com/blog/my-story/

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Posted : 29/12/2018 10:43 pm
Sclera
Estimable Member

My intermolar width is 30-31 mm, depending on the cast I measure from.

I definitely feel restriction. I always need to squeeze and suction my tongue up to my palate, and then sort of rearrange it to get it to feel proper, kind of like rolling ones shoulders.

 

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Posted : 30/12/2018 8:17 am
Abdulrahman
Reputable Member

Thanks, it's impressive you can get the posterior third up in the soft palate.  That's a testament to the effectiveness of nonfunctional exercises and your will.

As you squeeze your tongue do you feel sometimes your facial muscles engaging?

my story: http://www.aljabri.com/blog/my-story/

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Posted : 30/12/2018 8:36 am
Sclera
Estimable Member

I have a weird mouth, though! Keep in mind that though I had 4 teeth extracted (bicuspids, 2 on top and 2 on lower), my molars were moved forward. Even with improper posture, this allowed room for my wisdom teeth to erupt. If I measure where I think my 1st molars would have been without my extractions, I have maybe 34-35 mm intermolar width. But still no expansion.

And I do feel my facial muscles engaging when starting the position!!! Which, now that I think about it, I'm going to work on only using my tongue to get to that posture. I can do it, but I have to think hard about it. Thank you. Throughout the day, holding the posture, I need to remind myself to relax my lips. They can purse a lot, but I'm not sure that's because of my posture, or just my own quirks.

I often find that I'm engaging my scalp, too.  Back in my ShapeYourFace days, I had learned the scalp exercise, and I subconsciously do it still. I have to be careful when taking photos, as it creates an obvious facelift and change in ear position.

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Posted : 30/12/2018 9:37 am
Abdulrahman
Reputable Member

Welcome,

Yes I think you should measure at your second molars because before extraction that's where the first ones were supposed to sit.

Engaging facial muscles is a big no no, and will counter the effect of the tongue and overtime hypertrophy the facial muscle messing up the balance of the face.

It's good that you are able to control this with mental effort. When the facial muscles engage that's a sign that the tongue has reached it's strength limit.

my story: http://www.aljabri.com/blog/my-story/

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Posted : 30/12/2018 9:55 am
Sclera liked
Sclera
Estimable Member

Did a couple experiments, and I think this is why the 3rd exercise is so important. With my mouth open wide, I can squeeze and posture my tongue without engaging my facial muscles (maybe because they're engaged already with keeping the mouth wide open?). I'm working on trying to remember that range of motion while my lips are closed.

And I remembered a phase 2 for exercise 3:

Once you have the tongue up there, lower your head to look straight ahead, and while keeping your tongue up in the proper position, have your lips back in a grin. Slowly raise and lower your jaw, for teeth to lightly touch repeatedly until tired (or choose a number if you don't get sore). Kind of like a nutcracker.

I think this works as a way to distract the facial muscles while building proper muscle memory and strength in the tongue.

Ugh, now more than ever I want to get back to Sarah Hornsby. There's so much I've forgotten or feel like I could get easy corrections on in seconds.

 

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Posted : 30/12/2018 11:15 am
Abdulrahman
Reputable Member

Yes, opening the mouth in a cheesy smile will pre-engage the facial muscles so you can focus on the tongue. That's the same concept behind the cheesy smile swallow exercise.

my story: http://www.aljabri.com/blog/my-story/

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Posted : 30/12/2018 12:10 pm
Sclera liked