My commitments to working with clients, teaching, writing, learning, and living a balanced life have grown.
I am changing my office hours for advanced integrative bodywork to Tuesday through Friday. You will not be able to book sessions online outside my regular days and hours.
If you need to meet outside my regular hours (earlier than 10 or later than 6 on weekdays or on a Saturday), please contact me via the Contact page on this website, text, email, or phone (leave a VM please) so we can discuss.
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.
So far I’ve had two clients come in for TMJ relief sessions who have previously seen multiple practitioners who worked inside their mouths.
They’ve seen chiropractors, chiropractic neurologists, Rolfers, dentists trained by the Las Vegas Institute (LVI), and/or other massage therapists.
These two clients both told me, “No one has ever touched me there,” after I worked on their lateral pterygoids.
These are small and hard to access muscles, and in my opinion (and my main TMJ teacher’s opinion), they are most often the key muscles to address to release jaw tension.
It’s not that the other jaw muscles don’t contribute. They do, and in roughly 10% of the TMD cases I’ve worked on so far, one of the medial pterygoids is the problem child.
The external jaw muscles — the masseters and temporalises — also play a role in jaw tension but are never (that I’ve seen in 5 years) the biggest cause.
In other words, 90% of the time when people have jaw pain from muscle tension, the lateral pterygoids are the biggest culprit.
It’s not that these other intra-oral practitioners have nothing to offer. I’m not familiar with all of them, but chiropractors, Rolfers, and massage therapists have definitely helped me.
But if jaw tension and pain resulting from jaw tension is your major complaint, and you’d like a sense of spaciousness in your TMJs (if you can even imagine how great that would feel), go to a practitioner that works on the lateral pterygoids.
I’ll be back at this month’s Community Healing Circle, offering Heavenly Head Massage sessions for the first time. This will be an abbreviated version rather than the 45-minute version I’ve been offering at my office.
This monthly event offers 25-minute sessions from a collective of wellness practitioners that offer Reiki, massage, acupuncture, sound healing, astrology, and more. Practitioners vary from month to month. I’ve missed the past few months, and it will be good to be back.
The sessions are offered for a suggested donation of $25-35. Proceeds support charitable causes in the Austin area.
Come see us Friday, January 4, from 7-10 pm, at Soma Vida at 2324 E. Cesar Chavez. There’s a large parking lot in back. Enter through the back door – we’re usually right there. Sign up for the practitioner and time slot that you prefer. Sessions start every 30 minutes. There are some light refreshments offered.
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.