What is intra-oral massage? Intra = Inside, Oral = Mouth
While you may have just raised an eyebrow or crinkled your forehead, I can assure you that when I first heard of this type of massage, my first though was, “that’s weird.” Then I had it done, and I realized that I’d been missing out on amazing work for both myself and hundreds of clients who could’ve benefited from this type of work.
Intra-oral is a modality in massage that targets relaxing the Temporomandibular joint from the inside of the mouth. You may have heard someone say that they have “TMJ dysfunction” and their jaw clicks or pops quite often. They are talking about the joint that connects the jaw to the skull. TMJ can often cause headaches, migraines, neck, and jaw pain.
What causes TMJ dysfunction?
- Chronic Grinding / Clenching
- Jaw injury
- Improper alignment
- Various types of arthritis
- Tissue diseases
These things cause damage to the structural integrity of the joint and can lead to :
- Pain or tenderness in the jaw
- Pain in one or both of your joints
- Aching pain in or around your ear
- Difficulty chewing
- Facial pain
- Difficulty opening and closing the jaw (lockjaw)
Well, we could eat soft foods forever or workout/stretch our jaw; but that sounds like a terrible crash diet and “working out” doesn’t sound like fun. Certainly talk to your doctor about your symptoms, if they are serious these may be some options for those with more serious TMJ pain.
As a massage therapist what I can tell you for sure is that intra-oral massage is most definitely a preventative measure, and can help manage painful symptoms in most cases. Roughtly 10 million people in the US suffer from TMJ. Many of these cases are acute which means that the signs and symptoms can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Massage therapy can help to reduce tension in the joint letting it stabilize.
How do you massage TMJ in your mouth?
With non-latex gloves our trained staff will glove up and relax the muscles attached to the joint, as well as the gums and drain your sinuses. Typically the therapist will use one to two fingers inside the mouth while the other fingers are working on the outside of the mouth, cheek and jaw. But don’t worry, your entire massage won’t be spent on just your face and mouth. Your therapist will assess your needs and target those areas as well. During this massage the therapist may also work on the neck, scalp, shoulders and head as needed for your symptoms.
Does it hurt?
This is the question I get most from clients. As we all know the mouth is a sensitive area of the body. While this treatment can be uncomfortable, it should never be extremely painful. During your massage your therapist will have one of your arms visible to them at all times. We like to use this as a warning system. This helps us to communicate with you while it’s not so easy to talk.
As I like to say to my clients, “communication is key”. Above all, we ask that you please be honest with us as to what you feel whether that be too much or too little pressure. This massage does not have to hurt in order to work.
What can I expect after this massage?
- Reduced jaw pain
- Reduced neck and shoulder pain
- Increased mobility in jaw
- A natural “facelift” (more sculpted features)
How do I book?
Click here or you can call into Summit Spa and Float during business hours (9AM-10PM Monday- Saturday) and speak to one of our guest specialists to book today!
Article Written By: L.M.T. Celeste Gibson