Most of us don’t realize that our jaw is the most frequently used joint in our body; people move their jaw joint 2,000 to 3,000 times a day. The jaw laso contains the strongest muscle in the human body; no other muscle in your body can exert more force than the 200 pounds of force from muscles in the jaw on the molars.
Being the strongest and the most used part of our body, also means it’s the place where we hold the most tension. For most of us, the tension we’re holding in our jaw does not get released. When this tension goes to an extreme, teeth grinding occurs. Approximately 8% to 30% of adults grind their teeth, usually during their sleep.
Last year when I was getting a Marma Massage from Katie Grossman, co-founder of Wildly You and an Ayurvedic Practitioner, she commented on how tight my jaw was. Luckily she also had a solution… another way to recycle your wine cork! Here’s what to do:
- Get a wine cork.
- Put the cork between your front teeth and bite down on it. What Katie recommended for my small jaw is to cut about ⅓ off lengthwise. Just be sure not to overstretch your jaw to get the cork in there. Keep it comfortable, you can even just use the cork the short way.
- With the cork held between your teeth, make some noise. Talk, sing, make “aaahhh” sounds for 5-15 minutes. The shower or your morning commute in the car are great places to do it.
- After 5 – 15 minutes take out the cork and then take another minute to massage your jaw like this: Use both hands. Put the pad of your 2nd, 3rd and 4th fingers on your mandible (just under and forward of your earlobe) — you’ll know you’re in the right place if you open your mouth a bit and feel the hinge joint of the jaw moving.
Once your fingers are in place, make repeated, small circular movements, about the size of the diameter of a quarter. Your fingers will stay touching the same skin (i.e. not traveling across it), but you will feel your fascia (the connective tissue under the skin) moving in circles with your fingers.
- Use your 2nd, 3rd and 4th fingers all around your jaw like your playing the saxophone or piano. Do 100 finger touches per side.
Do this everyday, even multiple times per day if your jaw is super tight. You’ll feel the difference.