My Whole Tongue Should Rest on the Roof of My Mouth?
Updated: Jan 1, 2022
Good oral rest posture is important to achieve an open airway, restful sleep, and believe it or not it may reduce pain and soothe your nervous system,
X marks The Spot. In the practice of orofacial myofunctional therapy we often refer to "The Spot." The place where the tip of your tongue should rest comfortably on the roof of your mouth. Meditators are familiar with the practice of being mindful of where their tongue rests, but many do not realize that their whole tongue should be up against their palate, not just the tip of the tongue.
What happens when my tongue touches my palate? Nerve endings of trigeminal nerve are located on the palate. When the tongue touches “The Spot,” it activates different parts of your brain. According to research conducted by Antonio Ferrante, MD, DDS, stimulating the “The Spot” turns on neuroreceptors in the brain and improves brain function. This promotes overall correct body posture, muscle movements, and neurotransmitter production such as dopamine, serotonin, acetylcholine and norepinephrine. Neurotransmitters such as these are signaling molecules in the nervous system which act as the body's natural antidepressants. This is why we place stomahesive on the roof of the mouth to attract the tongue up against this area to not only open the airway, support the mandible (jaw), but also to stimulate the trigeminal nerve endings located on the palate. This is the reason why thumb and digit sucking are so soothing. Children and/or adults are using their thumb to stimulate the spot because they have not learned the correct tongue-rest posture. In order to approach and begin to think about cessation of these habits, we must first train the tongue to replace their digit to retain the soothing effect and stimulation of the spot.
"This is the reason why thumb and digit sucking are so soothing. Children and/or adults are using their thumb to stimulate the spot because they have not learned the correct tongue-rest posture."
Research is being conducted to evaluate the influence of proper tongue posture and pain control. Studies are looking at how the effects of touching this spot may have a protective effect against breast cancer, mostly likely because it stimulates melatonin which promotes restful sleep, healing, and cognitive function. Melatonin controls all the circadian rhythms-its a time keeper for the body structures, immune and endocrine systems. It is also linked to prolactin development, which is the hormone that tells the body to make breast milk when a person is pregnant or breast-feeding. Dr. Ferrante, as mentioned above, discussed a case he had with a non-verbal autistic child who began speaking after he placed Nutella on “The Spot” 12 times per day. The child’s verbal skills began to return after they learned the proper tongue posture.
As you can see, the tongue plays an integral role in not only our physical posture and breathing habits but also our hormonal regulation and our emotional well being. This all can be possible from placing the tongue in its proper spot! So, this is why it is so important to train our tongues to remain in correct posture.
As part of your program, your OMT provider may suggest your wear a "Spot." A “Spot,” is made from a piece of gelatin material which is placed on a special place on the palate. Stomahesive/cholopalast is a multi-purpose skin barrier originally designed to help protect skin. It adheres to our skin by simply drying the desired area and pressing it firmly against the tissue for ten seconds. Approved by the European Union as safe. It is made from non-toxic materials such as: pectin, gelatin and ingredients found in most chewing gums. We have repurposed this material to attract the tongue into its ideal posture. Myospots are the desired alternative for those looking for a product made specifically to support their orofacial myofunctional therapy.
Breathe effortlessly. Be well.
Laura Barlow, CSOM, CBBA, INHC