Launched in 2021, Airwaav is a patented oral device designed to improve your overall exercise performance.
This doohickey “sits at the bottom of your mouth and works by pointing your tongue down and forward when you bite,” explains Dena Garner, Ph.D., the researcher behind the Airwaav Performance mouthpiece. “By targeting the tongue muscle, the device increases physical performance,” she says.
“Research has shown that clenching the tongue, moving the lower jaw forward, and biting the mouthpiece results in airway opening, a decrease in cortisol, respiratory rate, and lactate levels,” she adds.
At the time of writing, there are two Airwaav products on the market: Airwaav Endurance and Airwaav HIIT. As the name suggests, each is recommended for a different sport.
With the boastful tagline “Built with purpose, backed by science,” best believe that there are some real research-based and user-backed benefits to moving with this mouthpiece. Here are seven of them:
1. It reduces the working breathing rate
The mouthpiece’s main job is to keep your airway as open as possible – and research shows it does this effectively.
A study published in Compendium of continuing education in dentistry reported a significant difference in the mean airway width of mouthpiece users compared to those not using a mouthpiece.
To put it in numbers, Airwaav users had an average airway width of 28.27 millimeters, which is 2.34 millimeters wider than those who don’t wear one.
“Opening the airways leads to improved performance outcomes,” explains Dr. Garner.
2. It helps you not to hold your breath during exercise
“Most people don’t think about breathing when they exercise,” says Dr. Garner. Well, the mouthpiece can help.
Indeed, that is the experience of former D1 swimmer Kyle Moline, a CrossFit fanatic from Washington state. “Because of my background, I like to hold my breath during training. But I will notice the airwaav in my mouth during workouts, which reminds me to breathe,” he says
3. It helps your brain stay in the game
Aside from the physical benefits, some users report that the device helps increase mental focus.
“Using it for monostructural training has made me feel like I can focus on something other than the physical pain,” says Alexander Fallek, an Oklahoma-based CrossFit athlete and Hydrox competitor. “It’s made a huge difference in my ability to focus on speed during practice,” he says.
Monostructural training is CrossFit code for “traditional” cardio. The less sexy (read: barbell-free) stuff, monostructural training, usually means spending a majority of the time on a single machine like the rower, ski erg, rower, or attack wheel. But running and swimming also qualify.
farrr Mentally less interesting than EMOM and AMRAP style workouts, monostructural training can get boring. Honestly, anything that helps your mind stay in the zone while you work is a gift.
4. It protects your teeth
The Airwaav is a performance mouthpiece that isn’t primarily designed to muffle your chompers, however some users report that it has this secondary effect.
“I cramp a lot when I lift [weights]so the Airwaav at least helps protect my teeth while giving them something different than other teeth to bite on,” says Joe Massey, a CT-based CrossFit athlete.
5. It May Support Healthy Cortisol Levels
For people who already have high cortisol levels due to stressors unrelated to exercise (work, personal issues, etc.), the additional increase in cortisol levels from exercise could lead to chronically high cortisol levels.
Symptoms of chronically high cortisol levels:
- brain fog
- weight gain
- inability to concentrate
- Deteriorated sleep quality
It has been said that using an Airwaav is a preventive measure you can take to modulate cortisol levels during a workout.
“The Airwaav supports proper mandibular placement and breathing, which provides subsequent improvement in cortisol levels and supports performance and recovery in any sport,” says Dr. Garner.
In support of this idea, a 2017 study was published in Convincing medicine found that wearing a mouthpiece during exercise can dampen overall cortisol production.
6. It can aid in recovery
The researchers in the above Convincing medicine The study found that because the mouthpiece can lower total cortisol levels during and after exercise, it may also support faster recovery.
“[The findings] suggests [a] potential impact of mouthpiece use on recovery and subsequent training sessions,” they write.
7. It can facilitate nasal breathing.
If you’re a CrossFit or endurance athlete, your trainer may prescribe rigorous nasal breathing training.
If you’re unfamiliar: nasal breathing means using your nose (not your mouth!) to breathe in and out as you move and groove.
Well, Airwaav user Erik Pineda, a Virginia-based CrossFit athlete, says the mouthpiece is especially beneficial during nasal breathing sessions. “It helps me keep my mouth closed so I can focus on nasal breathing,” he says.
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