Checking in. How are you?

How are you all doing?

I miss you.

I usually put out a newsletter near the beginning of each season. I just haven’t been able to get going on it.

I’m at home nearly all the time. I am healthy, doing ecstatic dance and yoga classes online, eating healthy, taking really good supplements, meditating, staying on top of my physical and mental health care.

Well, at least I had hand washing down before this!

I’ve been getting caught up on chores at home: moving my bookshelf, reorganizing my books, sorting receipts for taxes, cleaning.

I have plenty to do: a stack of books to read, access to online entertainment.

But sometimes it’s hard to get motivated. I feel some sadness and some anxiety about this.

When that happens, I find some solace in silently taking in the natural world — mockingbirds and mourning doves, beautiful shades of green (my favorite color), clouds, watching it rain, walking barefoot outside when the rain stops.

I live alone and wish I’d gotten a cat or a dog and planted a garden before this sheltering in place started. I can still do those things. There’s a risk to going out, though, that wasn’t there before.

I guess we’re all learning more about viruses and immunity and public health policies than we’d ever imagined.

I care about you. I hope you are well and healthy, practicing good self-care, and that if you get the virus, it’s the mild version. Or even better, the symptomless version.

What’s it like to not go to your job?

What’s it like if you’re considered an essential worker and are still having to work?

What’s it like if your income suddenly dropped?

What’s it like if you’re on the front lines, as my RN daughter will soon be?

What’s it like to be home with kids all day, if you haven’t been?

What’s it like if you have a medical condition that’s been put on the back burner because all medical resources are focusing on treating the virus?

I feel hopeful that when this pandemic is over, we can rebuild a better society and live saner, more fulfilling lives.

Since so much of my life, especially the craniosacral therapy and the meditation practice I have, is about connecting to Source, calming yours and my nervous systems, and listening with healing intent as our systems shift in response and augment our innate healing abilities, I’m investigating and preparing to practice distance healing.

It’s a way to connect.

If you need someone to send healing energies your way, just let me know. I could use a couple more people to practice on.

Holiday time, 2019

I am loving fall this year, really paying attention to how the trees transform, with leaf color and leaf drop.

Amazing leaf I found in my yard! How do trees do this?

The longer nights invite introspection, dreaming of this transition to a new season, new year, and new decade. It is critical for our future on this planet that we really look at how we can live lives with more respect for the welfare of all, including the earth itself. It’s time for a new paradigm about power and love. The old ways are on their way out.

What are the changes that you want to see — and be — in this new decade?

Are you in?

I’ve been making a lot of soup — especially my green detox broth reverse-engineered from The Soup Peddler (text me for the recipe) and trying various mushroom soup recipes. So far, Hungarian mushroom soup wins for flavor!

Look for my winter newsletter in the next week or two.

If you are looking for holiday gift ideas, check out my Self-Care Tools and Books page for foot massage sandals, the Therapeutica Sleeping Pillow, the best shoulder tension relaxer I’ve found (Gaiam Pressure Point Roller), and more.

Holiday hours: I’ll be closing at 3 pm on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve and closed all day on Christmas and New Year’s Day.

If holiday stress has gotten to you, I recommend craniosacral therapy to help rebalance your nervous system. I’ll be open all day Dec. 26 and 27 and half a day on Dec. 31.

I’m taking time off for another 10-day silent meditation course — closing January 1-14. My online booking system has these times blocked from scheduling, so this is just a heads-up notice.

If you determine that 2020 is the time to finally address your TMJ tension and pain, I’d be honored to have you come in for the free 30-minute consultation and set up a TMJ Relief session (or 5 sessions for a discount).

I’m still designing the Yoga for the Jaw class I plan to offer in 2020, looking for a studio with props to host the first one as early as February.

I’m also prepared to meet with dental office staff to share what I do for TMJ relief and learn what they are doing.

Comments enabled and welcome

I just learned that dozens of people left comments from the Contact page of this website that I didn’t know about. Some of them went back to 2017.

Some of you contacted me by phone, and we tended to the issue. I have not heard back from everyone who left a comment, however. I am sorry if you left a comment and never heard back from me.

I have fixed the problem so that now I get an email notification if someone leaves a comment.

Moving up the learning curve…MaryAnn.

Massage therapy for jaw pain

The January/February 2019 issue of Massage & Bodywork (magazine for massage therapists) includes the article “Temporomandibular Joint Disorders: Biting Off More Than We Can Chew”. It’s full of information about the anatomy, pathology, demographics, contributing factors, symptoms, and treatment options for TMJD. The author is Ruth Werner, who wrote A Massage Therapist’s Guide to Pathology.

The article mentions that many dental professionals enthusiastically recommend massage therapy as an early intervention for TMJ disorders, which are often accompanied by dysfunction elsewhere in the body — the shoulder girdle, pelvis, and feet, for example.   Regular massage therapy sessions can also help relieve pain and tension in the external jaw muscles.

The author states, “The [internal] pterygoid muscles require more specialized skill… Work inside the mouth carries some serious responsibilities… It’s not for beginners, and it’s not for dabbling. When things go wrong in this joint, problems can reverberate through the whole body… [Massage therapists working inside the mouth should] get advanced training…

“Intraoral massage may trigger unintended responses… Emotional release in response to work in and around the mouth is also a strong possibility. It is critical that massage therapists be mindful of their scope of practice and respectful of their clients’ processes if this happens. Massage therapists must be prepared to be present, nonjudgmental, and appropriately supportive for this kind of event. Once again, it’s not for dabblers. If you want to do this work, get appropriate training.”

After reading this, I feel good about what I do. Massage therapists trained to work inside the mouth mostly follow three paths of advanced training: craniosacral therapy (like me), neuromuscular therapy, and structural integration (aka Rolfing).

Also, not all craniosacral therapists or neuromuscular therapists work with the internal pterygoid muscles, so be sure to ask beforehand if that’s what you expect. That was part of my training with Ryan Hallford, not (so far) with the Upledger Institute.

Also, I’m thanking the Upledger Institute for my training in SomatoEmotional Release as well as past experience and research in trauma recovery.

I’m grateful to see that treatment for TMJ disorders by licensed massage therapists is getting media attention, and that TMJD itself is getting more recognition. The TMJ Association recently announced that the National Institutes of Health have agreed to do more research. It’s very much needed — practitioners know what we don’t know, and it’s a lot.