How are you doing, my friends?

How are you doing at this point in the pandemic/recession? I’m enjoying more downtime. Planted a garden, making nourishing soups for cold days, connecting with a few friends, dancing on Zoom, doing the MELT Method to help my body recover from a low-back injury in October.

I have a hunch that a few people are thriving, most people are muddling through the “new normal” that may never really feel normal, and quite a few have been hit hard with losses of loved ones, jobs, homes, security. Bless.

Where are you?

I’m so grateful that during this pandemic, taking good precautions, I am able to work in my office one day a week (Tuesdays), offering private sessions.

I didn’t work for six months except for some long distance healing sessions and consultations over the phone or Zoom. I’ve been working now since mid-September, so nearly 5 months.

I work one day a week to minimize spreading COVID. I figure that if a client or I comes down with it, we’ll know within a week, and I at least won’t have exposed other clients before I figure that out.

It’s not perfect but it (and pre-screening, masks, my face shield, and air purifier) make it safer.

I taught a Self-Help for Jaw Pain course over Zoom last fall that I spent a lot of time developing, and I may offer it again when demand is sufficient. I had developed a busy clientele for TMJ Relief sessions, but COVID has made it unsafe to work in people’s mouths.

I’m considering offering private TMJ Relief sessions over Zoom, teaching people to do their own intra-oral work. It’s not hard. You just have to know where to touch. I’m not sure what the demand is for that, however.

The subtleties of doing craniosacral therapy require practice. The ability to sense subtle motions and patterns in a receiver’s body is developed through training and maintained and augmented through practice.

It took a few weeks to get my palpation skills back to my previous level. I appreciate everyone who has come in over the past few months for allowing me to deepen my abilities.

The swirly state when your body actively heals itself.

Since I’ve been working on my essay exam for getting certified by the Upledger Institute in craniosacral therapy techniques, I’ve developed more sensitivity and awareness of energetic and physiological processes.

I’ve come to appreciate even more the biodynamic branch of craniosacral therapy and sometimes integrate it into sessions, especially for repeat clients. I seem to be one of those people who learns how to “go by the book” and then experiments with integrating whatever is in my toolbox that my intuition tells me will help a receiver release something that no longer serves.

I’ve been receiving biodynamic sessions regularly from my officemate Christian Current. It’s whetting my desire for more training in the biodynamics field. I also had a great Upledger-style session from ou officemate Liz Baker that helped me release some dural tube restrictions after I injured my low back in October.

I recommend that people new to cranial work receive 3 sessions, because with bodywork this subtle, your innate healing processes strengthen with familiarity with the work and with me as a practitioner.

I offer a package of 3 sessions for $250 and a package of 6 for $500. This works out to $83.33 each. A single craniosacral session is $100, so you still save $20 from my regular session price.

If you’re feeling stale or stressed, craniosacral therapy can help restore your resilience. I’m interested in working with people who have had COVID and are suffering aftereffects.

Anyway, this is a little note to you to share what’s up with my practice and stay in touch. I’m available on Tuesdays. I have openings at noon, 1:30, 3, 4:30, and 6 pm. You can check my online scheduling page for availability. I would love to see you. I would love to hear from you.

Treating TMJ Issues: some medications cause jaw clenching

I’ve learned that some widely used pharmaceutical medications can cause jaw clenching and grinding as side effects.

The best known are in a class called SSRIs, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, commonly prescribed for depression and/or anxiety.

I’m sure you’ve heard of Prozac (generic name fluoxetine). Here are some other SSRIs that can cause bruxism:

  • Zoloft (sertraline)
  • Celexa (citalopram)
  • Lexapro (escitalopram)
  • Paxil and Pexeva (paroxetine and paroxetine CR)
  • Viibryd (vilazodone)
  • Luvox (fluvoxamine and fluvoxamine CR)

Do not stop taking them without a doctor’s supervision, as you may have withdrawal symptoms, possibly dangerous.

In general, if you take any of these medications and you are clenching or grinding your teeth, talk to your doctor about alternatives: psychotropics, dopamine agonists, antihistaminergics, and psychostimulants, as well as other measures to relieve anxiety and depression.

I recently learned that there’s an alternative to pharmaceuticals for treating depression and other mental disorders. It’s called TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) and it works with your brain waves (rather than the chemical approach using particles).

It’s been approved by the FDA to treat depression and migraines, and it’s also being used to treat anxiety, OCD, PTSD, Asperger syndrome, TBI, ADHD, and more.

TMS is offered at several places in Austin. Do a search to learn more.

One more bit of info: I had a new TMJ Relief patient who was taking an SSRI. I treated her and gave her the info above.

Unlike others I’ve treated, she didn’t notice a difference in how her TMJs felt and moved at the end of her first session.

However, she emailed me the next day to tell me that for the first time in a while, she woke up without severe jaw pain and headache.

So even if you are taking an SSRI and have jaw pain, one of my TMJ Relief sessions (or even better, several sessions judiciously scheduled to prevent relapse) can help, and meanwhile you can be investigating alternatives.


I invite you to work with me!

MaryAnn Reynolds, MS, LMT, BCTMB
Austin, Texas
Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy • TMJ Relief
online scheduler: maryannreynolds.as.me
text or voicemail: 512-507-4184

Join our class, Relaxed Jaw: Learn How to Unwind Tension, Pain, and Grinding

Siri Scull, certified hypnotist, coach, and nutritionist, and I (MaryAnn Reynolds, LMT, board certified in therapeutic massage and bodywork, provider of TMJ relief sessions) are offering a free class on April 1, 7:30-8:45 pm at Soma Vida.

This first class is free, and we ask that you claim a ticket on Eventbrite so we can be sure to have enough seating for everyone.

This (optional) class serves as an introduction to our 4-class series offered remotely via Zoom on April 8, 15, 22, and 29 at the same time period.

This 4-class series includes:
~ Hypnotic visualizations to help you unwind tightness
~ Specialized exercises and techniques to soften the jaw
~ Nutritional & supplement suggestions to promote relaxation
~ Best sleep practices to promote a relaxed jaw
~ Ongoing support as you change habits on a conscious and unconscious level

The tuition is $149 for the 4-class series taught over Zoom. Save $25 if you bring a friend! You may pay MaryAnn via PayPal (paypal.me/maryannreynolds) or Venmo (www.venmo.com/MaryAnn-Reynolds-1) at the April 1st meeting or before April 8 to secure your spot.

Class is taught by Mary Ann Reynolds, MS, LMT, board certified in therapeutic massage and bodywork, providing TMJ Relief sessions and packages, AND Siri Scull, NC CHt, certified Hypnotherapist, Coach, and Nutritional Counselor specializing in habit change.

Learn more about the instructors at maryannreynolds.com and siriwellness.com

Contact me, MaryAnn Reynolds, at mareynolds27@gmail.com or (512)-507-4184 (leave VM or text) if you have any questions.

We hope to see you at our informational meeting on April 1, or via Zoom for the class series, or both!

Coming soon! A class for dental offices

I have been taking a fantastic class called NLP+Presentations. The first part was this past weekend, and the second part will be in mid-February.

I’m working on a presentation for dental offices. It will be an hour max, so it could be a lunch-and-learn or a training offered to staff early or late in the workday.

I probably don’t need to tell you that some people complain of jaw pain after receiving dental work.

Dental professionals need to accommodate them by offering frequent breaks from wide-open mouth position — some even use devices to keep the mouth cranked wide open.

Dental offices also experience cancellations when someone’s jaw pain has flared up and they can’t even imagine holding their mouth open for dental treatment.

In fact, dental professionals are often the first health care professionals to let someone know that their clenching and/or grinding habit is damaging their teeth.

Although they offer orthotic devices to protect teeth and/or try to realign the TMJs, and they can usually repair the tooth damage they encounter, they don’t work on the biggest cause of jaw pain — myofascial tension. In fact, most dentists receive little or no training in the jaw — their domain is teeth and gums.

As a massage therapist, my domain is the myofascial realm of muscles and soft tissues. I work on postural issues, shoulder and neck tension, decompression of cranial bones, and do intra-oral work on all four internal jaw muscles — as gently as possible.

I can help dental offices help their patients, and I believe we can work well together.

If you think your dentist might be interested in this free training, please connect us. I’ll be offering trainings starting in late February.

Treating TMJ Issues: choose a practitioner who works on your lateral pterygoids

Recently I’ve had two clients come in for TMJ relief sessions who have previously seen multiple practitioners who worked inside their mouths. Between them, they have seen chiropractors, chiropractic neurologists, Rolfers, dentists trained by the Las Vegas Institute (LVI), and/or other massage therapists.

These clients both told me, “No one has ever touched me there,” after I worked on their lateral pterygoid muscles.

That surprised me.

These small muscles are hard to access, being nearly surrounded by bones (cut away in the image below so you can see the two-headed muscle), and in my opinion, they are often the keys for releasing jaw tension and also for relieving clicking and popping noises. (Notice that the upper head is attached to the articular disc that separates the temporal bone and the mandible —the two bones of the TMJs.)

anatomy of the jaw muscles

It’s not that the other jaw muscles don’t contribute. They do. I’ve found tension in the temporalises, trigger points in the masseters, and taut bands in the medial pterygoids.

I usually save the lateral pterygoids for last when working on someone’s internal jaw muscles, because they are harder to access. It helps to have tiny pinky fingers, and even then sometimes I need to ask a client to shift their jaw to the side so I can reach them.

Sometimes I can’t reach them on the first visit, but any release of tension in this area near the joint is therapeutic.

People are not aware that there are jaw muscles here! I’m touching in a place where people never get touched. This area can be sensitive.

When I get on or near a lateral pterygoid, it can be a revelation. “That’s the place!” they exclaim when I remove my finger.

Once I get there, I don’t need to stay long.

It’s not that these other intra-oral practitioners mentioned above (at least in these two clients’ experiences) have nothing to offer. I’m not familiar with all of them, but chiropractors, Rolfers, and massage therapists have all helped me.

But if jaw pain and tension are your major complaint, and you’d like a sense of spaciousness in your jaws (if you can even imagine how great that would feel), find a practitioner that works on the lateral pterygoids.

I hope this information helps you ask informed questions when choosing a practitioner to relieve your jaw tension and pain.


I invite you to work with me!

MaryAnn Reynolds, MS, LMT, BCTMB
Austin, Texas
Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy • TMJ Relief
online scheduler: maryannreynolds.as.me
text or voicemail: 512-507-4184