Jaw tension is sneaky. It steals your joy when you’re all caught up in your daily adventures. In recent years, dentists have observed that tension of the mouth is at an all-time high thanks to heightened stress and anxiety levels. There’s no “quick fix” to a jaw that feels more like metal than skin and bone, but one dentist says that acupressure—the practice of gently pressing down on certain hotspots across the body—can help.
“Acupressure is a great way to reduce pain and discomfort in the jaws, and TMJ (Temporomandibular joint dysfunction) caused by inflammation due to muscle tension,” says Inna Chern, DDS, a New York City-based dentist.
Along with the general discomfort of this malady, Dr. Chern explains that ignoring pain in your jaw can cause a domino effect of other health problems. For example, it could cause pain in the rest of the head region, make chewing hard foods difficult for you, give you headaches, and even result in broken teeth or fractures. In other words, these speedy self-acupressure treatments are well worth your while to learn. Dr. Chern says applying pressure to four spots will melt away jaw tension in no time.
“The best advice in applying pressure is to make sure nothing hurts,” explains Dr. Chern. “Starting off gently and then increasing the pressure to a tolerable amount is key while also maintaining regular deep breathing for one minute.”
Jaw bone point: This muscle bulges out between the upper and lower jaw, and you can feel it when you clench your molars together.
Wind screen: Chances are you’ve noticed this point before—it’s the soft indent hiding just under you earlobe. “This area is more sensitive,” warns the dentist. So apply a light touch, folks.
Listening palace: Spot this location right in front of you earlobe. Apply pressure to both lobes simultaneously.
Wind pool: “[This] point located on the back of the neck at the base of the skull,” says Dr. Chern. “There are two points a few inches from each other on both sides of the neck, and a gentle up-pressing pressure is used to relieve discomfort.”
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