High-intensity training for 148 muscles in 30 seconds without getting sweaty, at the same time as counteracting a number of ailments such as heartburn, acid reflux and a dry cough. It may sound unbelievable, but in fact it is so easy anyone can do it.
Strong muscles are perhaps mainly associated with intensive exercising in the gym; six packs, quads and toned arms. And when we talk about the inside of the body, many people think of personality and mental well-being.
But it is actually possible to train muscles on the inside of the body – muscles that can’t be seen. In addition, it is significantly more effective than when you train with weights in the gym.
Some of the muscles inside the body that can easily be weakened, even in completely healthy people, are the muscles that are used in the swallowing process. This can cause a number of unpleasant symptoms, some of the most common of which are heartburn, difficulty swallowing, a dry cough, snoring and sleep apnoea.
Therefore, there are lots of people who would feel the benefits of neuromuscular training, which means that signals via nerve pathways can also activate muscles that cannot be reached with the help of their own will alone.
148 muscles are at work when you swallow your morning coffee
Neuromuscular training is based on activating the entire natural swallowing process, starting from the mouth.
Every time we swallow it triggers an advanced process. A perfectly coordinated chain of working muscles is required to transport your bite of morning toast and sip of coffee all the way through the pharynx and oesophagus, via the lower oesophageal sphincter and down into the stomach, in a safe and secure manner.
To be more precise, there are no less than 148 muscles that work together.
The muscles in the swallowing process can be stronger or weaker in the same way as the muscles in your arms or legs.
If something goes wrong along the way, it can have both unpleasant and painful consequences. The swallowing process is central to the body and lots of important functions are linked to it in various ways. Therefore, problems in that process can cause many different types of symptom.
Mis-swallowing, when food or drink ends up in the trachea, is not difficult to imagine; we have probably all suffered from it at some point. But there are also many other common symptoms that have their root cause in the same muscle chain. Weakened muscles in the swallowing process can also be linked to, among other things, heartburn, dry cough with thick phlegm, chest pain and snoring.
Both voluntary-controlled and involuntary-controlled muscles
If we return to your bite of morning toast, you will need to use both muscles that you voluntarily control with your will, i.e. striated muscles, and muscles that are involuntarily-controlled, so-called smooth muscles to swallow it.
In general, the muscles higher up, such as the muscles of the tongue, are for the most part voluntary-controlled. Further down, an increasing number of the muscles become smooth, which is the same as being controlled by signals from the brain.
You can directly control the striated muscles, such as in an arm. But the smooth muscles require a signal from the brain. No matter how hard you try, you will not be able to wiggle your lower oesophageal sphincter.
When the food is brought to the mouth, it will pass through various phases of swallowing before landing in the stomach:
- The bite is processed in the mouth.
- The bite passes through the pharynx.
- The bite is transported through the oesophagus and falls into the stomach.
Perfect coordination between breathing and swallowing is required for it to work optimally. When swallowing the food is in progress, it is important to hold your breath for two seconds so that the bite can safely pass the trachea. It is not something that we think about, but something that is controlled automatically.
In fact, this whole process is automatic and, when it works, is a coordinated chain of movements between the 148 muscles involved. But if it is not coordinated, there is a risk of some coffee entering the trachea causing a coughing attack, or a piece of toast getting stuck on the way down the oesophagus.
Problems in different places cause different difficulties
If the internal muscles are weakened somewhere, it can manifest itself in different ways.
- Those who suffer a stroke have problems with the nerve signals that go through the brain, which makes it especially difficult to swallow fluid.
- People with weakened diaphragms who are unable to hold the stomach in the correct position can suffer from heartburn, acid reflux and many other ailments.
- Weakening of the muscles in the upper respiratory tract can lead to snoring and sleep apnoea.
All of these symptoms mean that the underlying cause can be found in one or more of the 148 muscles in the swallowing process, or that the signals to and from the brain that regulate the work of the muscles have difficulty reaching their goal.Previously, not much could be done about it. But then dentist Mary Hägg had an idea.
The solution – a neuromuscular training device
At the time Mary Hägg, now an associate professor, worked as a hospital dentist and met many patients with swallowing difficulties.
With a background in neurology, Mary had a theory that the mouth has a more central role than previously thought in restoring problems related to the swallowing process.
Therefore, she developed a neuromuscular training tool that uses the oral cavity to stimulate the nerves associated with the swallowing process and thus activates the muscles all the way from the lips down to the diaphragm and the upper part of the stomach. All the 148 muscles involved in normal swallowing.
After testing a first prototype with successful results it would take another 20 years to get the product to market so that many more people could get the same benefits from it as Mary’s own patients.
Evidence that it works
Today, the neuromuscular training tool IQoro is for sale online and is used in many hospitals and clinics in several countries.
That Mary was in fact correct in her theory that it is possible to train the swallowing process has been proven in no less than 17 internationally published and reviewed studies. In addition, it has been shown that the exercise provides effective treatment for serious problems such as heartburn, acid reflux and the feeling of a lump in the throat.
IQoro has also been granted a patent, which means that it is a unique solution.
But the most important thing is that more and more people choose to use IQoro. Over 90.000 people have already used it to train the 148 muscles in their swallowing process. For many of them, it has meant a greatly improved quality of life.
Despite this, the knowledge about how it works isn’t too widespread and many people have problems or take medication for something that can be remedied through a simple daily routine of a total of 90 seconds.