Certainly more of a new-aged approach to pain and tension management, acupressure is becoming a popular, non-invasive way of treating all sorts of ailments.
One such ailment is Temporomandibular disorders (TMD). The TMJ is situated on the face between the temple and the jaw.
TMD are disorders of the jaw muscles, temporomandibular joints (TMJ) and the nerves linked to chronic facial pain and are usually misdiagnosed. Approximately 70% of neck problems may be related to dysfunction in the temporomandibular joint, according to experts.
What is acupressure?
Acupressure is the same as its better known counterpart, acupuncture. The difference is that in acupuncture, needles are inserted into the various pressure points on the body. With acupressure, there are no needles, but pressure is put on the same point. Acupressure also focuses on massage.
These techniques have been used in eastern medicine for hundreds of years and boast many benefits, as well as credit for curing various ailments.
When it comes to the jaw, there are different types of acupressure to achieve different results.
How does acupressure help?
“Acupressure is a great way to reduce pain and discomfort in the jaw and TMJ caused by inflammation due to muscle tension,” says Inna Chern, DDS, a New York City-based dentist.
She told Well and Good that ignoring pain in your jaw can cause other health problems, even spreading the discomfort to the surrounding areas of the face and neck.
Applying pressure to the proper areas of the body can be very beneficial.
“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 are key, while also maintaining regular deep breathing for one minute.”
Dr Chern says that patients can perform acupressure on themselves to ease TMJ.
There are different points on the jaw that can be massaged.
Jaw bone point: This muscle bulges out between the upper and lower jaw, and you can feel it when you clench your molars.
Wind screen: This point is the soft indent hiding just under your earlobe. “This area is more sensitive,” warns the dentist. Apply a light touch.
Listening palace: Spot this location right in front of you earlobe. Apply pressure to both at the same time.
Wind pool: “[This] point [is] located on the back of the neck at the base of the skull,” says Dr Chern. “There are two points a few inches apart on either side of the neck, and a gentle up-pressing pressure is used to relieve discomfort.”