Intraoral Massage is a way to thoroughly work on the jaw muscles by working inside the mouth wearing gloves. This is a modality is a great way to assess and treat the soft tissue related to the temporomandibular joint.
Benefits of Intraoral Massage
1. Decrease Pain
Jaw muscles are overused in our day to day life. Whether you are eating, breathing, or even used to create stability these muscles are imperative to our survival. Since we are unable to avoid using these muscles it is easy to create pain and dysfunction in this area.
Other TMJ related issues that can cause pain are: chronic stress, TMJD (temporomandibular joint disorder), Brusism (teeth grinding), or clenching.
2. Decrease Tension & Increase Range of Motion
Massaging knots and trigger points can help to relieve the tension in the jaw allowing the muscles to relax and lengthen the muscle. This further increases the range of motion the jaw is capable of by allowing the muscles to lengthen further. Due to the connection between the jaw and cervical spine this can also decrease pain and tension in the neck and shoulders.
3. Increase circulation
Massage Therapy helps to increase blood-flow to the muscles, tendons, and ligaments. This allows for more oxygen to be delivered to the site allowing increasing recovery and healing locally to the area.
4. Relieving issues of the neck
The cervical spine and suboccipitals (tiny neck extensor muscles at the base of the skull) have an effect on the jaw biomechanics and thus the jaw muscles can also affect the neck. If one is problematic the other will suffer as a result. Working on the jaw can help to relieve neck tension, increase range of motion, and decrease pain.
How intraoral massage is performed
When you first enter the office we will cover your goals and expectations regarding intraoral and if it fits the needs you're looking for. Clients will be able to lay supine on the table and we will go over some signs with hands so you can non-verbally cue the therapist of pressure levels or if anything is uncomfortable. Using proper safety gloves the therapist can use their hands/fingers to assess the tissue and massage on the muscles inside the jaw and base of the jaw.
Common muscles to assess intraorally and extraorally include: Masseter, Temporalis, Medial & Lateral Pterygoid, Tongue, Suprahyoids and Infrahyoids.
Following up with external work
While most of the best work can be done with intraoral massage there are specific muscles that we can working more effectively from the outside. These include the masseter, temporalis, suprahyoids and infrahyoids.
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