This is a gentle form of bodywork, where a practitioner–usually a naturopathic physician or massage therapist–manipulates the craniosacral rhythm, the motion of cerebrospinal fluid within the membrane around the brain and spinal cord. Influencing this rhythm and encouraging it to flow freely is the key to this technique’s success.
“Jaw pain is often the result of chronic tension and stress, which become held in the memory of the fascia and muscles surrounding the temporomandibular joint; craniosacral therapy facilitates the release and opening of the tense connective-tissue web holding the jaw in a painful pattern,” explains Emily J. Telfair, ND, CMT, of the Baltimore area. “The practitioner uses a gentle touch to unwind and stretch the fascia, which allows the underlying muscles to relax.”
Because it’s gentle, craniosacral therapy performed by a trained professional is safe for anyone. However, if your jaw pain is new or follows an injury, get examined by a medical practitioner first to rule out any contributing factors.
Massaging jaw muscles brings immediate relief–and may lead to long-lasting results, especially if your therapist has experience with jaw pain. “Ask if they know how to do intra-oral work,” suggests Ray Wanjura, LMT, of the Austin School of Massage in Austin, Texas. That means the therapist puts on a rubber glove and massages the muscles inside your mouth. “The [jaw] joint can become misaligned when muscles aren’t working properly,” he says, “but working on the muscle tissue will allow the joint to realign and stabilize naturally.”
Delicious Living is the go-to resource for the natural and organic lifestyle, helping readers eat well, live green, and stay healthy. Visit deliciouslivingmag.com for more articles and free recipes.