While there are several things that can be done to ease jaw tension, gua sha is by far my favourite as its something I can reach every single day, and it has me slowing down and makes my body and mind relax. With so many cases of stress induced TMJ, taking care of ourselves with small lovely rituals like gua sha, or just a gentle massage with your own hands makes a lot of sense to me.
Because so many of you reached out to my latest post on jaw tension/TMJ, jawline acne and more I wanted to share some natural things that you can do to ease jaw tension, stagnation and emotions sitting in your jaw.
The first thing I would recommend is getting checked, to find out if you actually have a misalignment of your teeth.
My dentist told me everything looked fine, and that my TMJ was stress induced.
If neither misalignment nor trauma via injury are the cause, you might be dealing with stress-induced TMJ. It’s extremely frustrating to be told that it’s all the fault of stress. Even the word “stress” makes you, well, stressed, I know…
Teeth grinding and jaw clenching can be a manifestation of stress and tension. Everyday life isn't going anywhere, there will always be stressors we can’t prevent, but balancing through these times is totally up to us, and I will share some small rituals/habits you can include in your daily life to maybe ease this.
I wanted to insert my latest post I did on this, which I did because I found a connection with my jaw tension and jawline breakouts, this also gives a better idea of why the suggestions below might work for you!
— I went to the doctor some time ago, because I thought my ears were hurting as it was painful touching around them, funny enough I intuitively felt like massaging the area around my ears, which would hurt. she checked my ears which were fine, and then she felt my face and told me that I was holding a lot of tension within my jaw, from clenching and teeth grinding. oh, how it made sense.
I have been a teeth grinder since I developed my first teeth. I would grind so hard at night, my parents would wake up from it. even my husband had to wake me several times beginning of our marriage. it has been a constant thing in my life, much like I feel that my jawline is the only area, where I ever get break outs. i began to think that there had to be a connection.
so, how can or does jaw tension inhibit skin clarity?
excessive contractions in muscles can lead to tightness in all of the tissues, restricting the flow of lymph. a healthy lymph system supports a fluid membrane balance throughout the whole body; any condition of pathology can be traced back to a fluid-membrane imbalance. skin conditions such as acne, rash, cellulite and, in extreme cases, lymphedema can result from poor lymphatic drainage.
stagnation or blockages in these nodes can mitigate the filtration process, therefore increasing the amount of toxins in the blood and lymph. an excess of toxins in these fluids can cause acne in skin that has increased levels of sebum and blockages in its pores. when you for example clench your jaw, you put pressure on the tissue around it, and when there’s pressure on the tissue, it can restrict blood, oxygen, and lymph flow.
unexpressed thoughts, feelings and emotions, and unprocessed experiences can create holding patterns in the jaw, as well as physical strain and emotional stress. stress can trigger excess hormone production and lead to various imbalances, including muscle tension and acne. so pay attention to your jaw patterns, and be kind with yourself ✨
“Stress manifests in the face first, and the spine and body follow, versus the other way around. A ‘dancer’s posture’—long, lean, and upright—lifts and defines the face posture instantly,” she says. By contrast, hunching over in reaction to stress or from ‘tech neck’ does the opposite. “The modern version of upper-body tension is caused by tilting our heads to look into our gadgets,” says Facelove cofounder Rachel Lang. “TMJ/TMD [temporal mandibular joint disorder] is a result of high stress penetrating the face, particularly the jaw, but it’s all connected.”
Gua sha — a deeply relaxing ritual as it has you slowing down your breath, focusing on yourself and your breath, allowing you to rhythmically contour the face with your stone of choice to release muscle tension and activate the lymphatic system. Massaging stiff facial muscles around the jaw, cheeks and forehead can be very therapeutic and helps relax the face.
Massage tools like Gua Sha can help relieve muscle tension throughout the jaw area and are easy to use. Start from the inside area of where the cheek meets the nose and work outwards over the jaw, working out tension and concentrating on tender areas.
The lymph system relies on external movement for its circulation, so exercise or massage help to move the fluid, and being sedentary, or being stationed behind a computer all day, contribute to stagnation, Gua Sha helps break this stagnation up and make space for new flow.
You can buy your Gua Sha here https://byachilles.eu/collections/beauty-tools/products/smoky-quartz-gua-sha-limited-edition
In TCM, or Traditional Chinese Medicine, there is the belief that the body contains meridians or energy channels through which life energy or Qi flows throughout the organs and limbs, carrying out the body's daily operations. In this practice, it's believed that complications in this flow of energy are what cause illness or pain. In turn, inserting thin needles into different points on these meridians is thought to bring balance to the flow of energy in the body, which is what we now call acupuncture.
While I have been doing acupuncture for many other things for the longest, I tried acupuncture on my jaw for the first time today, and I really enjoyed it despite the ‘discomfort’, like when you are being massaged in a sore area. Its a painful release, but I could literally feel the needles balancing out the tension. Definitely recommend!
The cheapest treatment available! Remember there is nothing in the world that replaces the work of hands.
So if you have time, massaging your own face and jaw will help relax and soothe your tense jaw.
Massage the joint region, up to the temples, back down to the bottom of the jaw. You do not need deep pressure to experience good results, be gentle with yourself.
inner mouth massage
I have had this done a few times before, its called a ‘buccal massage’ and there is nothing like it. The idea of having someone massaging the inside of my mouth, was to be honest a bit intimidating being such an introvert that I am — but if the one treating you makes you feel like its the most normal thing in the world, then it feels like being hypnotized. You fall into this deep state of relaxation like nothing else, and your skin will look plump and glowing afterwards!
According to Ayurvedic principles this is extremely healthy for the mouth and gums.
While there isn't much scientific evidence to back up claims of oil pulling for TMJ conditions, it certainly has helped to alleviate tightness in my jaw, and might be something you would like to try, as its a very cheap method too, and it really makes the mouth/gums and teeth feel better, so even if it doesn’t help ease your tension it might benefit your oral health anyways, win win.
natural relaxants for emotional wellness
As mentioned can unexpressed thoughts, feelings and emotions, + unprocessed experiences create holding patterns in the jaw, as well as physical strain and emotional stress. stress can trigger excess hormone production and lead to various imbalances, including muscle tension and acne. I have used all these three herbal tinctures by organic olivia for the past two years, and if you feel like you suffer from jaw tension at night you could use the sleep juice with great benefits for a more relaxed and deep sleep, which might help you relax more thus relaxing your jaw while sleeping. If you feel like you tense up and hold the clench within your jaw throughout the day, I recommend mood and peace juice, a good mood makes an emotional difference and so does being at peace with yourself. If you feel like you are dealing with all three aspects, you can do like me and mix all the juices in the preferred dose into water and sip! you can buy these herbal tinctures here https://www.organicolivia.com/shop/.
textured face roller / LYMPH FLOW ROLLER
I love to use these textured facial roller, to glide gently along my jawline and downwards behind the ear and along the neck. I usually use this after my gua sha ritual at night, and if gua sha isn’t your thing this is a super easy way to stimulate and massage the jaw area a bit deeper than a regular roller. We have these textured lymph flow face rollers here https://byachilles.eu/collections/beauty-tools.
TMJ exercise video
I found this video on youtube which is a simple and easy guide to relive TMJ related tension and pain.
So whether you’re a nighttime clencher or an all day flexer, these simple suggestions might be a thing you turn out to love and will help you ease the tension.
I have been dealing with 20 years of TMJ issues, and its only in the past two years that I have started to truly connect the dots, and taken my wellbeing in regards of that into my own hands, literally!
Remember that consistency is key, with everything.
I hope you can use these suggestions to something, or that they at least have sparked your curiosity with your own jaw-journey! I will be researching this topic a lot in the time coming, and I can't wait to share more in depth posts about this, as I gather more knowledge of the topic!
Thank you SO much for reading <3