As I mentioned in the other Jaw Exercises post, called The Scream, an area of the body that can hold a lot of tension is the jaw. This an exercise that sounds a bit nicer than the Scream, and works in a slightly different way to the Scream’s drag.
The jaw is the only bone that we consciously move that crosses the mid line of the body and has a joint at each end. There are so many descriptions that refer to keeping the mouth closed: “Grin and bear it”, “Grit your teeth”, “Shut it!”, “Swallow your words”. We can also thrust our chins forward in an assertive or aggressive way in response to situations where we feel we need to stand up for ourselves. Many people clench or grind their teeth (Bruxism) and the grinding might be an echo of the time when our teeth were one of our primary weapons (an idea called Thegoism) and also think of animals that are threatened (dogs showing their teeth).
Please note, this is to try to ease the soft tissue (muscles, tendons) of the jaw only and not for structural issues. If you are not sure why you have the pain and think it might be structural please consult your dentist.
- Sit comfortably, and in an upright (spine long) position.
- Bring the heels of both hands together, fingers apart (as if you’re making a goblet with your hands).
- Rest the point of your chin on top of the heels of your hands, and let the fingers come to rest along the jaw bone.
- Gently lift the hands up into the jawbone, evenly compressing into the joint in front of the ear.
- Hold this gentle compression for 3-5 minutes*.
- Slowly ease off the pressure.
- Then without letting your hands slip or slide, let the hands draw the jaw down and out (creating space in the TMJ).
- Hold this gentle traction for 3-5 minutes*.
*The compression and traction is very gentle, with no great force. It should feel comforting rather than creating pain. If this movement causes sharp pain then stop.
If this movement causes unhelpful (bad) pain then stop.
If you have dislocated your jaw in your past then do not do this exercise, without advice from your dentist.