Hot girls have TMJ. And poor circulation. And posture that leaves a little something to be desired.
Self-myofascial release may sound like a kinky sex thing, but it’s actually “a technique used to release tension and promote blood flow in the muscles and fascia of the body,” says Kayla Hamm, a doctor of physical therapy. “For the neck and jaw, this can be particularly beneficial for individuals who experience tension, stiffness, or discomfort in these areas.”
Before we get into the how, let’s chat about the main muscles we’ll be addressing today.
- Masseter: “Responsible for closing the jaw while chewing. It is located on the outer sides of your face near your jaw line,” explains Kayla. “You can feel this muscle when you clench your teeth, especially in the area right in front of the ears.”
- Medial Pterygoid: “Found deep inside the jaw, towards the center of the face. This muscle aids in chewing, speaking, and swallowing,” she says.
- Sternocleidomastoid or “SCM”: “Located on the lateral side of the neck, this is a key muscle involved in head posture and breathing, which can indirectly affect the TMJ,” Kayla says.
“Now that you know a bit more about some key muscles involved in the neck and jaw, try these soft tissue release techniques below,” Kayla says.
Press play on the video and follow along with her instructions below.
- Start by washing your hands and ensuring your fingers are clean.
- Gently insert your thumb into the opposite side of your mouth towards the center of your cheek.
- Open your mouth slightly, and you will feel the medial pterygoid move under your thumb, just behind your upper molars.
- Once you find the muscle, sink your thumb gently into this area then hold for 10 to 15 seconds.
- You can also use circular motions to help release the muscle for 3 to 5 reps in each direction.
- Repeat the process on the other side.
Kayla concludes with this important advice: “Remember, self-myofascial release and stretching should not cause pain. Be sure to listen to your body and apply gentle pressure at first, gradually increasing intensity as you become more comfortable with the techniques.”
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