The “Ig Nobel Prize,” sometimes referred to as the Anti-Nobel Prize, is a satirical award, which honors scientific achievements “that first make people laugh, and then make them think.” The Prize is announced in the Cambridge publication Annals of Improbable Research.
In 2017, the recognition in the “Peace” category was bestowed on Milo Puhan, Alex Suarez, Christian Lo Cascio, Alfred Zahn, Markus Heitz, and Otto Braendli, for demonstrating that regular playing of a didgeridoo is an effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnea and snoring in their study “Didgeridoo Playing as Alternative Treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Syndrome: Randomised Controlled Trial.”
Using the breathing techniques and training method developed by Swiss relaxation coach Alex Suarez called “Silent Sleep,” the method purports to strengthen and tighten the throat musculature and the connective tissue was developed by the over the course of 15 years. The idea for the Asate Method came to him during his own struggle with heavy snoring and sleep apnea. Since conventional treatments were not providing him with any relief, the former dojo owner and instructor of Asian martial arts techniques wanted to apply his knowledge of the yin and yang principle, biorhythms, tension and relaxation, as well as the careful consumption of resources, to create his very own therapy. Inspired by the Australian aboriginal didgeridoo, Suarez developed his own medicinal didgeridoo that is designed to strengthen, massage, and stimulate the connective tissue and musculature in the neck and mouth using targeted exercises.
The success among the study participants has led to various stages of innovation involving the medical didgeridoo and has resulted in a device that Saurez says is optimized for use in a therapeutic setting: the “Snadoo.” The smaller instrument is made of plastic and has a corresponding mobile app.