Jaw massage? Who needs that? Pretty much everyone, actually.
In our fast-paced society, there are a lot of stressors that cause us to clench our jaws or grind our teeth without even realizing it. Sometimes we do it while we’re sleeping, but oftentimes it’s just a habit that we don’t think about. We hear about TMD (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder) a lot, but most people think that if their jaw tension isn’t as severe as lock-jaw, they don’t have to do anything about it.
Many people don’t know that jaw massage can be a healing option for TMD.
Sometimes when clients ask me about it and I explain the treatment, they are shocked. “You are going to put your hands in my mouth?” It may seem strange, but how else could we effectively treat jaw pain without addressing the actual jaw? There’s only so much you can do from the outside, and it will not have the lasting effects of intraoral work.
Before we get into the technique, let’s talk about the indications for intraoral work. Lock-jaw or diagnosed TMD are the obvious ones, but what else would require a therapist to massage inside your mouth? If you have chronic tension headaches or migraines, ear pain, chronic ear infections, dizziness or vertigo, chronic neck pain, shoulder pain and sometimes even hip pain, intraoral jaw massage can help. Tension in the jaw can start a chain of myofascial dysfunction that can travel to other parts of the skull, neck, and torso. Myo means muscular and fascia is connective (check out my fascia blog for more on that subject).
Now that we know the benefits of jaw massage, what does it entail?
I have extensive training in Craniosacral Therapy and Lymph Drainage Therapy, which are both very gentle massage techniques. Usually the first time I perform this work on a client, they begin by opening their mouth violently as if they are about to have an uncomfortable dental procedure! The most important thing is to relax the jaw. In case you are wondering, I always wear medical gloves. Most of the work is completely pain free, and clients will often fall asleep.
The results of the work will vary depending on the severity of your symptoms. Usually I will see clients on a weekly basis (2-3 times), then every two weeks, then once a month or every six weeks. The treatment will not cure TMD, but it will alleviate symptoms significantly. The longer you wait to receive jaw massage treatment, the less effective it will be. Intraoral work can affect the fit of a mouthpiece, so please let your therapist know beforehand if you use one and if it is fitted specifically to your mouth.
There are few of us who are trained in jaw massage in Southern New Hampshire.
Check out my page on Craniosacral Therapy and Lymph Drainage Therapy while you shop around for the right massage therapist for you. Be sure to ask the therapist if they do intraoral work, as sometimes even qualified therapists do not want to perform this type of massage.
Please contact me with any questions you may have via email ([email protected]). I look forward to serving you!