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from Ralph & Jen Havens,


I learned this physical therapy technique from John Iams, PT, a physical therapist that teaches classes on his technique of using reflexes to clear pain and improve function.


This is a physical therapy technique that can be used as a home program

so you can use it to relax your TMJ or temporomandibular joint, jaw and face.

Try it and see what you notice.

First test how your face, and jaw and mouth feel by noticing it and open and close your mouth gently a few times.

Remember how this feels.  You may also want to bend forward while standing as this technique works on your whole nervous system and spine.

You can re-test these movements after this technique.  Re-testing is a sign a physical therapist can use to make sure the technique was useful.

Here it is:

Take your knuckles from your index and middle fingers of one hand and place them under the chin, just behind the mandible or the bone at the front area of your chin.

Open your mouth about  a 1/2 inch and press gently up with your knuckles as you resist with your mouth opening.  You don’t move during this exercise.  Instead it’s just a very light isometric.  Your chin presses down and meets the pressure of your knuckles pressing up.

Hold this for 1 minute; even less time works 15 to 30 seconds is even enough.

Now, re-test. Open and close your mouth and bend forward while standing.  Notice what is different. This technique works by resetting the muscular tension in the muscles that close your mouth; the clenching muscles.  This then resets the trigeminal nerve or Cranial Nerve 5 which has attachments to the dura; the covering of your brain, part of your eyes and your spinal cord.  This may be why you get a whole body effect.

You can use this a few times a day.  If you tend to clench your teeth or jaw, try it a few times a day especially right before bedtime.  Let me know what you notice.

If you’ve read this article and use this you are serious about searching for answers to your health concerns.  I want to take the time to acknowledge you for that.  You already do this now.

You might want to consider adding this physical therapy technique to your routine of self-care.  And if you might be interested in more help with any conditions you may be dealing with email me or call me and I can talk to you about your particular concern and what stuff I’ve found that has worked for me and others.

take it easy and see you later!

Ralph Havens   619.840.9755

Ralph and Jen Havens

Ralph Havens Physical Therapy, Bellingham, WA



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