What conditions is Biodynamic Craniosacral therapy helpful for?
Feeling energetically unbalanced
Other chronic conditions
Because BCST is so gentle and non-invasive, there are few contraindications for treatment. It works on the whole system and is especially effective at balancing the autonomic nervous system and allowing strain patterns to release.
The number of sessions needed varies. I recommend three sessions to start, to give this sometimes-subtle modality a fair chance, and then evaluate the benefits.
If you decide to continue with regular sessions, I offer a package that can save on the cost.
A neurology practice noted that of its patients who had restless legs syndrome (RLS), 60% also had bruxism (grinding teeth during sleep). Eighty-three percent had RLS and migraines, and 52% had RLS, migraines, and bruxism.
Do you relate?
The lead neurologist for this study speculated there is a gene that links these conditions.
It gets more interesting. Both restless legs syndrome and bruxism are involuntary movements occurring during sleep. Is bruxism “restless jaw syndrome?”
I’m always happy to see new research about TMJ-related issues, especially because there are so many factors that play a role in jaw dysfunction and pain.
This may be something to show your doctor, or you may be interested in taking a supplement or adding foods to your diet that help your body produce more dopamine (more info below).
More about bruxism.
Bruxism includes clenching and grinding the teeth. Some distinguish these as “waking bruxism” and “sleep bruxism”.
They may have different causes.
Sleep bruxism, in contrast to daytime clenching, is harder to treat because it occurs when you’re unaware of your behavior and unable to change it.
Waking bruxism is a habit that can change with awareness and practice. I’ve helped many clenchers learn how to relax their mouth position.
Some things I’ve noted about bruxism in my manual therapy practice:
Many people don’t know they grind during sleep until a dentist tells them they have damaged teeth.
Sometimes the noise of grinding during sleep is loud enough to wake up family members or housemates, and that’s how people learn they have sleep bruxism.
People who grind at night often wake up with jaw, face, or neck pain, earaches, and/or headaches.
Bruxism often results in the need for expensive dental work: mouthguards or splints to prevent further damage, crowns to fortify cracked or broken teeth, and sometimes implants.
Over time, bruxism can seriously damage the temporomandibular joints to the point of requiring surgery. It’s so much better to address jaw issues before it gets that bad.
Dentists and jaw issues.
Many people expect dentists to be experts on jaw issues, yet their domain is treating the teeth and gums.
Learning about TMJ disorders is not required in dental school. It’s an elective.
General practice dentists can prevent further tooth damage with appliances like mouthguards and splints. They can repair existing tooth damage or replace teeth with implants.
Some dentists may try to adjust the positioning of the TMJs, and a few more recently-trained dentists also address airway issues (like sleep apnea, which may accompany sleep bruxism) in their work.
Dentists do not address stress or tension in the jaw muscles, which contribute so much to jaw pain. Any overworked muscle will tighten, be painful, and perhaps spasm. The jaw muscles are no different. Sometimes they get taut bands within the muscle tissue that limit range of motion.
Working with muscles is the domain of massage therapists.
I receive referrals for TMJ Relief consultations and sessions from some of the best dentists and hygienists in Austin.
Solutions to try.
If you grind your teeth during sleep, it is possible to stop by using hypnotherapy or EFT (tapping).
I don’t know if it works for everyone, but it’s soothing — I always fall asleep before it ends.
Less stress is always desirable.
I’ve also heard from someone who did this that starting a regular meditation practice can reduce or stop bruxism completely over time. There are many types of meditation. If you want to try this, choose a type of meditation that is relaxing and includes body awareness. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction is taught online.
As mentioned above, dopamine agonists are prescribed for low dopamine levels.
Dopamine is released when your brain is expecting a reward — when you anticipate a pleasurable activity such as eating a delicious meal, spending time with someone you love, or receiving a big check.
It’s sometimes called “the happy hormone” because it affects your enthusiasm, motivation, and focus.
If you suffer from bruxism, before going the pharmaceutical route with dopamine agonist drugs, you may want to consider nutrition — consuming foods or taking supplements that raise your dopamine levels.
In particular the amino acid tyrosine increases dopamine.
What to do if you have jaw issues? I offer a 30-minute in-person TMJ consultation to gather information and evaluate your issues. I also teach clenchers an alternative to clenching and provide known ways to stop grinding, from those who succeeded.
These habits are major contributors to TMJ issues, and you can change them.
If you’re not in Austin, I can do the above as well as help you learn what to ask about when seeking TMJ relief near you. Just let me know if you need a phone or Zoom consultation.
I offer a combination TMJ Consultation plus TMJ Relief session in person in Austin, Texas, and in Taos, NM, in sumemrs. The consultation serves as an intake, so I have a better idea of what your issues are and how we’ll measure progress. Your consultation is free when combined with your first TMJ Relief session. This is a two-hour session.
To be fair, when you’ve had TMJ issues for a long time, or they are acute, you may need multiple sessions to retrain your system to retain the ease and alignment, along with doing your homework to stop clenching or grinding your teeth.
I offer a package of four TMJ Relief sessions for 10 percent off single sessions, best done a week or two apart. These sessions are 90 minutes and integrate various bodywork modalities — including work in your mouth — so that you feel great when you get off the table. They are best done over 4 to 6 weeks.
If you’re really adventurous, you can schedule a 75-minute Self-Treatment for TMJ Issues session on Zoom where we’ll do an intake and I will teach you how to work on releasing the tension patterns that cause problems, including working in your own mouth. You’ll need clean hands and short nails. It’s really not that hard! Learn more about it here.
Last year, I took a some classes about making presentations, and I focused on educating dental office staff about what I do in my TMJ Relief work.
Last week, I participated in a lunch-and-learn at the office of my wonderful dentist, Dr. Elizabeth Rayne. I talked about what I do and got to ask them some questions about what they do.
For instance, when people grind their teeth during sleep, they may not be aware of it. However, the dental office staff sees the results of grinding.
The staff then has to tell the patient that their sleep habit is damaging their teeth. Not good news to hear, especially when it means they need crowns.
Since my specialty as a massage therapist is in relieving muscle tension, after taking some advanced courses, I can help relieve tension in the jaw muscles and the pain it causes.
As someone who’s also trained in behavioral change (NLP), I can help people learn habit change.
Learning the techniques I use, getting advanced training, tweaking my protocol, and working on person after person since 2013 make up the manual therapy part of my work.
I’ve worked on people who have suffered for most of their lives, for twenty, thirty, even forty years.
That’s a lot of suffering. Being able to make a difference is hugely rewarding.
My work mission has broadened to include educating professionals and the public about manual therapy for jaw issues. At least half of my TMJ patients had never received manual therapy for jaw pain before they learned about me, through word of mouth. They didn’t know it existed.
I can relieve jaw pain, help people open wider, and help get their jaws aligned for better appliance fit. How would that affect a dental practice?
Readers, I f you know of any dental offices in the Austin area interested having me do a lunch-and-learn with staff, please connect. I will follow up.
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.
I’m please to announce I’ve added a new service. If you have jaw pain or dysfunction and are wondering if I can do anything for you, please schedule a free 30-minute consultation.
A lot of people, including dentists, are not aware that appropriately trained massage therapists can work on relieving your TMJ issues that are due to muscle tension or trauma.
I’ll ask about your symptoms and your history. I’ll also evaluate your body, including your neck and jaw.
Then we can talk about treatment options. If you’ve never had manual therapy for jaw pain and dysfunction, or if you’ve received it previously from a different practitioner, I’ll be happy to tell you what a typical session is like and the typical progression if you are curious about buying a series of sessions.
Please note: What I find once I start working and how well your system responds are variable with bodywork.
I’ve been doing TMJ Relief sessions since 2013. My teacher was Ryan Hallford of the Craniosacral Resource Center in Southlake, TX. I’ve taken his cranial base/TMJ class twice and been a teaching assistant for it when Christian Current taught. In addition, I’ve studied craniosacral therapy with the Upledger Institute.
Most recently, I studied TMJ Mastery in London, Ontario, with John Corry, a massage therapist and teacher with 26 years of experience working with TMJ issues.
Please let me know if you have any questions, and don’t hesitate to read the testimonials on my What People Are Saying page.