A new kind of anti-snoring product has appeared on the market recently — a silver pinky “anti-snore” ring that uses the principles of acupressure to quiet down snoring. They’re promoted as being inexpensive, easy-to-use and drug-free. But do they work?
Acupressure, like acupuncture, is based on the chi or life force in the body and the meridian pathway on which it travels. With acupressure, the practitioner does not use needles but rather presses on one of more than 300 places called acupoints along the body’s 12 major meridians, which relate to organs or other areas of the body.
Anti-snore rings are worn on the left pinkie finger and have two raised bumps (like prongs) on the ring’s underside. When positioned between the knuckle and the first joint, the ring’s prongs are meant to press on the heart meridian and, according to one online advertisement, also increase energy flow to the upper jiao, which in Chinese medicine refers to the area with the heart and lungs. The claim is that boosting the energy flow will in turn improve breathing, with the happy result being an end to snoring.
This could be wonderful news for sleepless spouses everywhere… but is it? I first asked acupuncturist Yi Hung Chan, DPM, LAc, who has a private practice in West Orange, New Jersey. He immediately dismissed the rings as gimmicks and suggested people purchase side-sleeping pillows instead, which can be helpful in keeping sleepers from rolling onto their backs, where they are most likely to snore. I then called Jeffrey Zimmerman, OMD, doctor of Oriental medicine, creator of the OptiMotion movement discipline, and an expert in acupuncture and related disciplines, for further input. He was no more enthusiastic about snore rings than Dr. Chan. He questioned whether the rings would put appropriate pressure on the acupoints, since skilled application requires variation from person to person.
Even more to the point, though, he explains that acupressure requires a diagnosis for treatment — that is, a determination of the precise nature of the problem. There are many causes for snoring and many solutions. For instance, he pointed out that if a snorer’s diet includes lots of pizza and other fatty, fattening foods, which contribute to obesity, some dietary adjustments and daily exercise would more effectively quell snoring than wearing a pinky ring. Other possible causes might be chronic sinus and nasal drainage problems or digestive issues. Bottom line — these experts find the claims are unlikely to ring true. Your best bet? See your doctor to find out why you are snoring and deal directly with the issue.