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.

Self-care tools make great gifts!

Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 7.53.01 AM

I’ve updated my recommended Self-Care Tools page with current prices on Amazon. If you’re looking to give someone (or request for yourself) the best tool to ease tight shoulders, a neck cradle that relieves tension, a pillow that maintains good neck alignment for side and back sleepers, a sandal that gives you a foot massage with every step — and a few other recommendations — check them out here!

Screen Shot 2018-11-24 at 6.34.09 PM

I also make more extensive recommendations on my wellness blog’s page, Products I Recommend. If you’re looking for cookbooks for a healthier diet, supplements, and more general wellness books, you can check out my recommendations here.

Screen Shot 2018-11-24 at 6.34.18 PM

Treating TMJ issues: acupressure points for self-care

Recently I wrote about how acupuncture can help relieve jaw pain and the stress that often accompanies it. Today’s post is about doing acupressure on yourself for TMJ issues.

Keep in mind that if you see an acupuncturist, they will do an evaluation that may show other issues that they can address, with a focus on getting your whole system in balance.

But acupressure can help. Here’s a page by the leading expert on using acupressure, Michael Reed Gach, Ph.D., on pressure points for sinus problems, jaw, TMJ, and bruxism and includes a 4:07 video (go to 1:18 for the jaw points).

Screen Shot 2018-07-06 at 8.53.21 AM
Image source: acupressure.com

He recommends holding them for a couple of minutes 2-3 times a day for a few weeks or months for best results if your jaw pain is chronic. Sinus, Jaw, TMJ and Bruxism Acupressure is 4:08.

I’ve previously shared a link to Heather Wibbel’s video (3:43) showing four points to apply pressure but if you missed it, here it is again: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTKqvaY84G4

This site has good images of four points, two of which Heather covers (SI 19 and ST6), with two other points on the cranium (ST7 and GB12) that can help. https://www.bigtreehealing.com/tmj-relief-using-acupoints/

If you use these points, or any others, please share in the comments what helps you most.

(Note: If you Google this topic, beware that not all the results are credible. I found one that pictured ST36 on the leg while describing a point on the face!)

Treating TMJ issues: videos of self-care techniques

If you suffer from jaw pain, you may want to try some of these jaw exercises and self-massage techniques.

Screen Shot 2018-05-30 at 8.44.49 PM

TMJ Exercises & Stretches to Relieve Jaw Pain — Ask Dr. Jo. 3:03. Dr. Jo is a physical therapist who demonstrates four simple exercises.

TMJ Massage: Pressure Points for Relief by MassageByHeather.com. 3:43. Massage therapist Heather Wibbels shows you four acupressure points for jaw pain. You hold them bilaterally for 30 seconds up to 2 minutes. If you’re looking for something you can do on an airplane without attracting too much attention, do these.

Absolute Best TMJ Treatment You Can Do Yourself for Quick Relief. 5:48. “Bob and Brad, the two most famous physical therapists on the internet” (as their theme song goes) show you how to massage your external jaw muscles.

10 Best TMJ Exercises to Stop Pain in Your Jaw. 11:57. Bob and Brad show you the standard relaxed position for your jaw along with several exercises. They cite the American Academy of Family Physicians as the source for these exercises. Start saving popsicle sticks!

TMJ Exercises #1, 11:25. Chiropractor Adam Fields demonstrates exercises for the back of the neck, which is often tight when you have TMD, tongue exercises, and massage, ending with a relaxation exercise. In TMJ Exercises #2, 10:07, he focuses on massaging the muscles that open and close your jaw. He helps you tie the jaw exercises and massage into really good posture — a good habit that will help relieve jaw tension.

Yoga to Release Jaw Tension from Grinding Teeth, Clenching, TMJ. 10:26. Karuna demonstrates self-massage to release jaw tension, including a technique you can do right before you go to sleep that may prevent clenching and grinding while asleep.

I’m interested in hearing back from you about which exercises help you the most. If you’ve found other helpful videos about TMJ self-care, please let me know.

Post-concussion self-care

I’m getting referrals for craniosacral therapy for people who have had concussions, and I want to help these folks recover. Not knowing what a doctor may have told them but knowing how busy most doctors are, I am providing information here that may help injured brains recover more quickly. If your doctor tells you something different, listen.

People who’ve had concussions may report experiencing pain, dizziness or vertigo, balance issues, vision changes, speech problems, confusion, lack of focus, forgetfulness, nausea, sleepiness, emotional problems, and perhaps other symptoms. To be clear on the language, concussions are also called mild traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).

To simplify, imagine your brain is like jello inside a closed container (cranium) cushioned by a thin layer of water (cerebrospinal fluid), with substantial membranes separating the major parts (hemispheres, cerebrum and cerebellum). A major impact slams the brain around inside the cranium, damaging brain tissue. Some research points to the corpus callosum, which connects the two hemispheres, receiving the most damage from concussions. Continue reading “Post-concussion self-care”