Who doesn’t love a head massage? Check it out and help me name it!

After spending 4 days recently taking a class called “Addressing the Skull,” I want to get you onto my massage table so I can practice, practice, practice! It’s the best way I know to integrate training into, well, my advanced integrative bodywork practice.

I also need your help naming this new addition to my repertoire. I want to describe it separately from a Zero Balancing session. In my view, a ZB session addresses the whole body, including the head, whereas a skull/cranium/crown session spends most of a 45-minute session on the head.

This was a class in Zero Balancing, which aligns your structure and frees your energy, but most of the session will be spent addressing your skull. I learned lots of secrets of the skull, including that working on the outside of the skull affects the inside, i.e., the brain. And it’s not exactly a massage. It uses artful touch and knowledge of anatomy to find those places that release tension you may not have even known you had.

For instance, there is a place behind your ears that is similar to that place where dogs love to be petted, behaving as if they could never get enough, leg twitching and groaning with pleasure.

There are several special places on your skull where two or three or four bones come together that just love to be touched.

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I imagine that everyone in the class experienced several releases of tension in their skulls that they were not aware of before. We can get so habituated to stress that it gets normalized. Guess what? Normal can be better. (Thanks to San Antonio ZBer Jamie Carmody for making “Make normal better” her tagline.)

I suspect this work may prevent headaches and migraines.

After four days of training, which included many trades, my friend and I noticed that we could see better. When looking into our training room, the 3D-ness of everything was in sharper relief, and everything had more clarity. Working on the head affects all the senses.

This is your brain, on ZB.

I plan to run this special for a couple of weeks, and may consider extending it after that. I’ve lowered my price by $25 for a 45-minute Zero Balancing session. Go here to book yours.

Your feedback appreciated!

I recently heard from someone who received a TMJ session from me, which includes craniosacral therapy, that after our session, her left ear “opened up”. She said her hearing in that ear had had a muffled quality to it for years, and that the session with me had restored her clear hearing. She was delighted. So was I. She came in for jaw tension.

Transformation continues to occur after a bodywork recipient leaves my office. Their mind may turn to other matters, but I wonder what else they experience in the hours and days after a session that improves their quality of life that I may never learn about, because next time they come in, they’ve forgotten.

I love to thank my clients for coming in for a session. I am so grateful that I get to do this for a living. It’s an honor to be trusted and a challenge to live up to that.

I’m changing the day that thank-you email gets sent. Instead of sending it the day after the session, I’ll be sending it two days later.

Besides conveying my gratitude, I hope to learn whether the work helped someone sleep better, improved their performance at work, increased mental clarity, affected their mood, improved their sensing abilities, resolved a different physical issue, balanced their energy, deepened their sense of self, or anything else — whether it was the goal of the session or not.

My business is transformation, and I am endlessly curious about it. The human body/mind/field/system is so complex, it’s like the flap of that butterfly’s wings in Brazil contributing to a tornado in Texas. I can’t always take credit for what actually happens, but I do like to know about it, as much as we can know.

 

 

Treating TMJ issues: what acupuncturists do to help

When I asked members of some FB groups what they did for TMJ pain and dysfunction, several responded that they got acupuncture.

An acupuncturist examines your body’s energy patterns by reading pulses at your wrists and by examining your tongue. Then typically they insert needles into pressure points to restore a balanced flow of energy. They also may prescribe herbal medicines.

Acupuncture is known to relieve pain and stress, two major issues that accompany temporomandibular disorder. Someone trained in Traditional Chinese Medicine will also be aware of particular points and meridians to work with in treating TMD.

The linked article cites multiple studies of the benefits of acupuncture for TMD and recommends weekly 30 minute sessions.

If you’re an acupuncturist who works with TMD, or have received acupuncture for your TMD, would you please share in the comments? Thank you.

Treating TMJ issues: an upper-body yoga sequence

Often neck and shoulder tension accompanies jaw pain. I’m enjoying this seated yoga sequence for neck and shoulder tension, recommended in a FB conversation about what people with TMJ do for self-care. It’s 8:29 in length.

Yoga for Neck & Shoulder Tension

I’m a big fan of yoga, having practiced it since 1982. It’s definitely helped with stress, tension, flexibility, energy, body awareness. I’ve taken yoga teacher training and taught restorative yoga and one-on-one classes for yoga newbies.

My yoga orientation is alignment-oriented hatha yoga like Iyengar and Anusara, which I combine in my home practice with sun salutation vinyasas and balance poses to meet the needs of my body. I notice I’m becoming more and more attracted to kundalini yoga.

If you do yoga, do you have any favorite asanas or breath work practices for jaw pain?

Treating TMJ issues: foods and nutrients that can make a difference

There are so many things you can do to relieve the stress that usually accompanies TMJ pain and dysfunction. Today I want to write about nutrients that can make a difference.

You can buy these as supplements and sometimes that’s easiest, but studies are finding that our bodies are not absorbing some of the expensive supplements we take to improve our health. Fresh and organic foods make it more likely that your body will absorb and integrate these nutrients for your benefit.

The B-complex vitamins are 8 vitamins that often occur together in food sources. They give us energy, and stress depletes them, so when you’re stressed, you need even more to avoid fatigue. Note that 30-60% of people do not absorb folic acid (B9) and B12 unless they are in the methylated form, so if you’re buying a supplement, read the labels. Best food sources: meat (especially liver), salmon, dairy, eggs, legumes, brewer’s yeast, spinach, and mushrooms.

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Vitamin C produces collagen, which produces cartilage in your joints. The articular disk in your TMJ is made of cartilage, and you want to keep it healthy. Vitamin C is easily depleted by stress. Best food sources: fruits like guava, oranges, kiwi, grapefruit, and strawberries, and veggies like bell peppers, kale, broccoli, and brussels sprouts.

Vitamin D3 helps with bone health and muscle function, decreases pain, and improves feelings of well-being. Most people (except those working outdoors with the sun shining directly on their skin without sunscreen) need to supplement to get enough, although you can get some of the D3 you need from sunshine. Outside peak UV hours is best, of course. Cod liver oil is the highest food source.

Glucosamine helps preserve joint health, rebuilding cartilage, lubricating joints, reducing pain, and improving range of motion. More effective than ibuprofen at reducing pain, it can also help with jaw clicking. This is a nutrient that isn’t easily found in food, except for bone broth made with chicken feet, ox tails, marrow, tendons, knuckle or cartilaginous joints, or shrimp shells. If you supplement, plan on taking 1500 mg daily.

Vitamin K2 helps with calcium absorption, which strengthens bones and nerve function. Food sources: the Japanese dish natto, grass-fed butter, Gouda, Edam, and Brie cheeses, grass-fed meat, pasture-raised eggs, sauerkraut, and yogurt/kefir.

Magnesium and calcium are essential minerals that many of us are deficient in. Magnesium helps with muscle function (tightness causes jaw pain). Food sources include leafy greens, dark chocolate, avocados, almonds, pumpkin seeds, and figs. Calcium helps with bones and nerve signaling. Food sources: sardines (with bones), yogurt or dairy kefir, raw milk, and cheese.

Omega 3s have been shown to ease pain and inflammation as effectively as ibuprofen. Food sources: wild salmon and other fish/seafood like mackerel, herring, sardines, anchovies, and oysters, seaweed, walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, and hemp seeds.

Do you notice some foods appearing over and over? Wild salmon, pasture-raised eggs, yogurt/kefir, sardines with bones, leafy greens, and cruciferous veggies are particularly nutrient-dense foods that you can incorporate one or more of at every meal.

As always, get the best quality food you can find and afford: grass-fed/grass-finished meat, pasture-raised eggs, wild-caught fish, organic fruits and vegetables, hormone-free organic dairy…