Jaw and facial tension is a very common stress-related problem. The most easily recognized symptoms are unconscious grinding or clenching of the teeth, pain around the eyes, headaches, and neck pain. Chronic jaw tension can even cause shoulder pain and lower back problems.
Face & Jaw Treatment will give you powerful and effective techniques for relaxing your jaw and facial muscles. As tension disappears, you will also lose some of those unwanted lines and wrinkles. This is an excellent exercise to do before and/or after going to your dentist.
You will need a comfortable chair or seat, or an exercise mat.
- Go slowly
- Make each movement small and easy
- Repeat each movement 4 times
- Relax as much as you can
- Rest briefly after each movement
Starting positions either seated or lying down
Seated: Find a comfortable position. Rest your hand on your thighs. Your feet should be flat on the floor, shoulder width apart, directly below your knees.
Lying down: Lie on your back and rest your arms by your sides. Either stretch out your legs or bend your knees and rest your feet flat on the floor, shoulder width apart, directly below your knees.
1. Very slowly open and close your mouth, just a little bit.
- Go slowly & make each movement small and easy
- Repeat each movement 4 times
- Relax as much as you can & rest briefly after each movement
2. Simultaneously, open your mouth while tilting your head back a little. Then slowly close your mouth and bring your head back to the starting position.
- Notice that tilting your head back helps your mouth to open more easily
- To make this movement easier, relax your neck
3. Open your mouth a little and keep it open. Slowly move your lower jaw to the right very slightly. Then let your jaw return to the middle, close your mouth and rest.
- Put your left forefinger on your chin so you can feel the movement of your lower jaw more clearly. Does your lower jaw move smoothly or does its movement seem rough and uneven at certain points?
- Go slowly and relax your jaw, so the movement can be smooth and easy.
And now, rest.
- Feel the right side of your mouth and jaw beginning to relax.
4. Open your mouth a little and keep it open. Slowly move your lower jaw very slightly to the left. Then let your jaw return to the middle, close your mouth and rest.
- Put your left forefinger on your chin so you can feel the movement of your jaw more clearly.
- Does moving your jaw to the left feel different from moving it to the right?
- To make this movement smooth and comfortable, go slowly and move your jaw only a small amount.
Relax your jaw, neck and shoulders. Make each movement relaxed and easy.
Rest for a moment.
- Feel your jaw, mouth and entire face relaxing. As your jaw relaxes, headaches, neck and shoulder pain often begin to disappear.
5. Open your mouth a little and keep it open. Alternately, slowly move your lower jaw to the left a little and then to the right a little. Move your lower jaw slowly from side to side.
- Use as little muscular effort as possible.
- Relax your eyes. Notice how they are moving from side to side to side slightly, following the jaw movement.
- Rest often so the muscles of your face and jaw do not get tired.
6. Open your mouth a little and keep it open. Slowly move your lower jaw forward a little so your lower teeth are slightly more forward than your upper teeth. Then let your jaw return to its normal position and rest.
- Put your finger on your chin so you can feel the movement more clearly. When your jaw moves forward, does it move straight forward, or does it veer slightly to the right or left?
Go slowly and rest after each movement
7. Open your mouth a little, move your lower jaw forward and keep it there. Slowly move your jaw to the right a little. Then let your jaw return to the middle and rest.
- Relax your tongue and throat as much as possible.
- Breath freely.
8. Open your mouth, move your lower jaw forward and keep it there. Slowly move your lower jaw a little to the left. Then let your lower jaw return to the middle and rest.
- Relax your arms, stomach and legs.
- Does moving your jaw to the left feel different than moving it to the right?
Use as little effort as possible
9. Open your mouth a little, move your lower jaw forward and keep it there. Then alternately, move your lower jaw slowly so the right a little and then to the
left a little. Move your lower jaw from side to side, gently.
- Make this movement smooth and continuous.
- Relax your face and entire body as much as you can.
- Don’t let your jaw get tired.
Rest for a moment.
- Feel the ease and relaxation in your face and neck.
- Notice how relaxed and comfortable your mouth and jaw feel.
Measure your improvement: simply open and close your mouth a few times.
- Let gravity and the weight of your lower jaw open your mouth gently.
- Notice that when your mouth and jaw are closed and relaxed, there is a slight space between your upper and lower teeth.
- Notice how much more easily and comfortably your mouth can open now.
When you stand up and walk around, enjoy your improvement!
You have just done a Feldenkrais exercise. Do you want to try more ATM (Awareness Through Movement) lessons? This one is from Relaxercise by Mark Reese & David Bersin. You can also try Open ATM http://openatm.org/ or visit the website of the International Feldenkrais Federation where you will find links to your national Feldenkrais Guild. http://feldenkrais-method.org/en