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On facial muscle tension and emotional and physical stress.


“Its only when you learn to relax that you actually become aware of how much tension you have been holding”

In my practice I started using different essential oils and a complete herb oil designed by ayurdedic master Kirsten Rae, they contain Ashwaganda, St, Johns Wort flowers and red clover bud and they assist in reducing relaxation and help relive tension. But these details are for another article.

I apply the oil under a patient’s nose and massage into the facial muscles. While doing the massage on my patient’s facial muscles I started to recognize a high incidence of facial muscle stress and tension. Facial muscle tension is primarily caused by stress. Stress causes you to clench your teeth and night and sometimes grind them as well.

Studies have found that between 5 percent and 12 percent of people suffer from facial pain, known as tempormandibular joint and muscle disorder (TMJD), which is often caused by teeth grinding, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.

This lead me to incorporate into my treatments a technique that I haven’t used on a regular bases in a long time. There is no specific name for the treatment so I’ll call it the saving face technique. It involves massaging the muscles of mastication with cross friction and other massage techniques. My patient’s positive reactions to this new technique and my increased results with regard to tension and stress related conditions throughout the body reinforced my enthusiasm on treating facial muscle tension again.

Numerous patients on returning visits have reported things like the relief from neck pain that has been persistent for years to an immediate awareness of reduced stress and tension in their bodies and minds.

Its only when you learn to relax that you actually become aware of how much tension you have been holding.

There is extensive literature out there on how these muscles hold tremendous amounts of tension and emotional stress.

This is not much of a surprise because the major muscle of mastication, the masserter is the strongest muscle in the body with regards to strength to weight ratio. Working with the other muscles of mastication, the ptyregoids they can produce 200 pounds of force on the molars.

Therefore such powerful muscles can store significant amount of tension before it becomes noticeable and you actually feel discomfort.

As reported on ABC news , Dr. Harold Menschel, whose Florida-based dental practice The TMJ & Facial Pain Institute said that he's convinced the rising levels of stress have increased the number of cracked teeth he mends.

The actual technique involves me wearing a finger cot, inserting my fingers into a patient’s mouth and manually massaging the medial and lateral pterygoids from the inside while working on the masserter from the outside. The results are immediate and the relaxed state of the patient assists with proper implementation of cervical vertebrae manipulation.

The Facial muscles are the most neglected muscles of the body, the need to be massaged and worked on like other muscles. This technique helps to elongate the muscles of the face because when a muscle becomes tense it contracts and shortens and shortened muscles of the face have been shown to not only hold tons of stress but also increase the signs of facial aging.

Dr. Joe Caraccilo

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