An Indonesian pop singer has received criticism after revealing her family, including her two-year-old son, sleep with their mouths taped shut.
The popular singer, named Andien, took to Instagram recently to share a lengthy story about breathing.
She shared a picture showing herself, her husband and their young son with tape over their mouths and explained for the last three months the family had been practising something called ‘Buteyko’.
The Buteyko technique was developed in the 1950s by the Russian doctor Konstantin Buteyko.
According to the BBC, the doctor believed respiratory conditions, particularly asthma, could be linked to the way people breathed and that if patients were taught to breathe ‘correctly’, through their noses, their lung problems would go away.
On Instagram, the 33-year-old explained her family taped their mouths closed in order to encourage them to breathe through their noses – though her two-year-old son likely didn’t have a clue what was going on.
Andien claimed the practise had helped her sleep better as well as stopping her from getting a dry throat and getting rid of her bad breath.
The alternative therapy remains popular today but Professor Nirmal Kumar, an otolaryngologist and president of the British medical organisation ENT UK, told the BBC there was ‘no convincing body of evidence in the medical literature to support [Buteyko]’.
Dr Kathleen Yaremchuk, a senior ENT surgeon and sleep specialist in Detroit, added:
I understand why it’s preferential to breathe through your nose, but most people don’t open their mouth unless they’re having trouble breathing through their nose.
The doctor pointed out the dangers of taping your, or your child’s, mouth, explaining if you were to get sick and needed to vomit you wouldn’t be able to – in the worst case scenario this could cause someone to choke.
Professor Kumar said children can also have greater difficulty breathing through their nose, and commonly get sick.
This is crazy. See a real doctor and dont take Soviet era 'advice'. BBC News – Buteyko: Why Indonesia singer Andien sleeps with tape on her mouth https://t.co/wYMxaBWLXX
— Will (@Popher) July 12, 2019
Patrick McKeown, founder of the International Buteyko Clinic, explicitly warned against taping children’s mouths closed.
He said he had seen Andien’s Instagram photo and said it’s ‘not at all recommended’ by Buteyko practitioners, adding:
For young children, the earliest we would [tape] is maybe five years of age, but we don’t put the tape directly over the lips.
McKeown made clear that while in an emergency most adults are likely to wake themselves up and rip the tape off, children cannot.
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.