If a dentist has never looked at you and said, “Arwen, your jaw is as stiff as a board,” you may find this post slightly less relatable. But I’m willing to bet that even if you’ve never received that diagnosis (also known in my case as Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, commonly called TMJ), you’ve probably got some tension in your jaw.
Let’s do a little quiz:
-Do you ever wake up with a headache?
-Do you ever catch yourself with your teeth pressed together without purposefully doing it?
-Do you experience discomfort or have a hard time keeping your mouth open during dental appointments?
-Does your mouth lock or feel that it might when you open as wide as you can?
-Do you have pain or difficulty when chewing?
-If you are in a class and your partner is practicing Tui Na massage techniques for relaxing the masseter, does it appear to make you scream louder than the other subjects in your class?
If the answer to any of the above is yes, especially because TMJ pain is often aggravated by stressful circumstances, you would likely benefit from the following (brief) instructional video.
Keep in mind that the use of ice is not advisable but you can run a washcloth through warm water, ring it out, and apply that to your face as well to help relax the muscles before doing the massage.