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…

What is biodynamics?

Biodynamics, which was originally defined by Rollin Becker, D.O., is a way of relating to the Breath of Life within another living being in a manner that allows the BoL (which Becker also called “Biodynamic Energy”) to reorganizing the living system to a higher level of healthy function. Most other forms of CST [CranioSacral Therapy] focus on the manipulation of tissues, missing Dr. Sutherland’s ground-breaking realization that the human body is a respiratory mechanism that is moved by life energy~ from biodynamics teacher Scott Zamarut on Facebook

If you practice attentive, quiet, stillness often and long enough, you will eventually feel yourself being breathed. This is what organizes and heals us.

The health path with heart: good medicine

I just got a note from a dear friend, who also happens to be one of my current clients. She wrote:

Hi, MaryAnn! I wanted to tell you about something really good that’s happening to/within me. I think it’s directly related to your sessions.
I’m revisiting everything health-related in my life. I have so much to learn!
I asked the universe for some help getting going on this project, and you offered me that first session. When you were done, I knew it was good medicine for my spirit and energy. I felt renewed and recharged. I’m so grateful for the ongoing sessions!
I’ve continued asking/demanding help from the universe. I just haven’t known what else to do.
I feel like your sessions are really helping connect with what’s good within me and all around me and things are moving. This week, someone gifted me with this thing called Sun Basket. They ship fresh, organic food every week, in a giant box, with everything you need to make 3 meals for 2. They had paleo-esque choices, which I loved. I cooked all three meals and we loved them!
And then I found a health tracking and information app that’s is the best I’ve tried by far. It’s helped me get a handle on so much!
Anyways, thank you for your bright light and your continued presence for good in my life. Your sessions are helping me in so many ways.
Much love.
This is deeply warms my heart for a couple of reasons.
One, my friend empowered herself to revisit everything health-related in her life. How awesome is that?
Have you ever thought of that? Where would you start?
The connection between life and health isn’t usually in our faces as long as we — and those close to us — are not having problems. We’re just living. Yet we are all vulnerable humans, one virus or accident away from losing freedom, joy, and abilities at least temporarily.
Some health issues have a genetic component. Some build over time due to our habits, and when we reach a certain age, we start wanting to take better care of ourselves.
We may see our loved ones go through difficult medical treatments, which can inspire us to take better care of ourselves now.
Two, she asked the universe for help. Is that not awesome as well? Sometimes when I do that, I don’t get a clear answer right away. But I’m still listening — that’s key. Then something shows up.
My friend met opportunity and said yes, and afterward she assessed. She felt it was good medicine for her spirit and energy. She felt renewed and recharged.
How do you tell when something is good medicine for you?
And then something else shows up on the healthy path. And so on. That’s a juicy organic way to get on the health path with heart. It’s not full of fear or compulsive behavior. It’s a journey of asking, listening, saying yes, and assessing.
What inspires you to take care of your health? To learn about what health is and what it is not, and what you can do to improve it and maintain it?
And most of all, how can you do that in a way that brings you joy and well-being and balance?

Silent auctions coming right up!

One of the ways I like to support the health-oriented community in Austin is by donating my services at silent auctions.

  • I get to market my practice to health-conscious folks, who may be learning about me for the first time. Austin has many newcomers.
  • The winning bid is sometimes below market price so the winner saves money and gets to try something new.
  • What I offer may be just the thing they’ve been hoping for, which is very satisfying for me and for them.
  • Their word-of-mouth satisfaction (I hope) spreads into their network.
  • I get a tax write-off for my donation.
  • When I attend the event, I meet like-minded people.
  • These events are fun!
  • Sometimes I even receive a t-shirt and/or guest tickets in exchange for donating.

I have donated three hours of bodywork (any modality or combination) to the Green Corn Project‘s annual fundraiser coming up on Sunday, October 29. This nonprofit is devoted to more organic gardens in Central Texas. This is my first year to donate, yet I’ve been wanting to attend for years, and finally, it’s happening!

I’m donating three hours of bodywork (again, any modality or combination) to the Save Our Springs Alliance (SOS) annual holiday party’s silent auction on Friday, December 8. I’ve donated for several years. This nonprofit supports a healthy environment in the Austin and Central Texas area.

I just donated a 90-minute session Oct. 22 at the Austin Fermentation Festival. The winner has been announced! Can’t wait to meet them!

What is Biodynamics?

Biodynamics is a western approach to wellness. Osteopath William Sutherland (1873-1954) began exploring the dynamics of the skull and its membranes and fluids, establishing the field of cranial osteopathy, from which craniosacral therapy and biodynamics evolved.

After years of sitting quietly with patients, listening to their body-mind systems, Sutherland and other cranial osteopaths became aware that something other than tissue manipulation was helping their patients heal from all kinds of conditions. They learned over time that the more they just listened and the less they tried to do, the more their patients’ inherent healing processes took over, returning their systems to healthier functioning. Over time they learned how to support and augment the healing process with their presence, attention, discernment, and intent.

This way of healing came to be called craniosacral biodynamics, biodynamic craniosacral therapy, or just biodynamics. As a separate modality from cranial osteopathy, it’s been in existence for nearly 40 years. Although biodynamics shares some elements with biomechanical craniosacral therapy, it focuses more on perceptual awareness of the fields in and around us.

Biodynamics resonates with Buddhist and Taoist beliefs about emptiness, form, transformation, compassion, and oneness.