By Mary Ann Wilson, RN
There are facial massage and relaxation exercises you can do to help with TMJ. Begin by sitting quietly with your spine straight and your body relaxed, and comfortable, back supported in good posture.
When massaging the face, use enough pressure to move the underlying skin and muscles rather than moving the hands or fingertips over the surface of the skin.
Properly align your neck for the following exercises. To correctly align the neck, touch the chin with your fingertips, and then pull the chin straight back as though your head were on railroad tracks. Your earlobes should be right above your shoulders.
The below series of massage and relaxation exercises for TMJ should be done in order.
1. Warm hands by rubbing them together several times.
2. Place palms of hands in hollow of cheeks. Slide hands to temples then up off the top of the head. Do this three times.
3. Use two or three fingers to circle temples in one direction. Do this three times, then reverse direction.
4. Open jaw and place one or more fingers in hinges on the sides of face where the jawbone meets the cheekbone. Make tiny gentle circles in and around the hinge joints. Do not rub the fingertips over the skin. Fingertips and skin move in unison.
5. Slide heels of hands up the back of neck and gently lift ( stretch ) just under the back of skull. Do three times.
6. Place palms or heels of hands on forehead. Move one hand up, the other down, simultaneously. Alternate several times. The hand and skin move in unison.
7. Circle temples with heels of hands. The skin moves in unison with the hands.
8. Say the letter “N” with tongue on the roof of mouth, lips parted.
9. Say the letter “N” with lips closed.
10. Take a deep relaxing breath in. Then lengthen the breath out through pursed lips.
11. With a gentle pressure, press tongue against roof of mouth for 5 seconds two times.
12. Open mouth wide and then close lips.
13. Press right palm toward the floor for a count of four. Repeat on the other side. Repeat both sides two times.
14. Relax the tongue on the roof of the mouth, then drop right ear toward right shoulder for the count of four. Repeat on the other side. Repeat both sides two times.
15. With lips slightly parted, drop right ear to right shoulder for the count of four. Repeat on the other side. Repeat both sides two times.