Jaw tension ~
My original remedy for jaw tension was inspired by…the Kardashians. True story. When I think of Kim, Khloe, Kourtney, Kendall & Kylie, the first thing that pops into my head is the typical Valley girl mantra: Oh…my…Goddd-ah!
Lol, you said it in your mind, didn’t you? GOOD! Now, say it out loud, and really drop that jaw. Go over the top with it!
Besides that it’s kinda fun to do, it’s also one of my most effective and probably most mentioned tips I give to my vocal students. A good ol’ jaw drop creates space, and encourages the larynx to stay relaxed, amongst other things.
Easy enough, right?
Turns out, MANY people deal with severe jaw tension, making it pretty difficult to ‘just’ relax the jaw. In fact, it can cause a lot of problems in their daily lives. Jaw lock, migraines, teeth grinding… That sh*t sounds awful!
So, I did what I love to do most: I researched until I figured it out. I’m one of those annoying people that believes there is a solution for any problem.
What surprised me was that, despite the fact that SO MANY people deal with jaw tension, there was barely any useful info out there! Most sources said something in the realm of: “well…just relax and massage the sides of your face” (Ok, thanks Karen, like I didn’t think of that on my own *eyeroll*) Uhm…well, I felt that just massaging the sides of your face wasn’t cutting it. So I crawled deep into the dark alleys of the interwebs AND THAT’S WHEN I FOUND THE SOLUTION.
Now there are 2 parts that work together: there is a physical component and an emotional component. Both are important here!
Let’s start with the physical part:
Self-massage (that actually works) for jaw tension relief
Are you ready for the greatest tip ever? You should massage the OTHER SIDE of your jaw. That’s right. Inside your mouth. Weird? Nope. Imagine asking your boyfriend for a back massage and he only did the left part. Instant deal breaker, amirite?
So, here’s how you do it:
1) Take your left pinky and massage the left side of your jaw, on the inside. Find the tender spots (the joint where your jawbone connects with your cheek, but also around it), and gently massage them. Chewing a bit helps too. Make sure to keep breathing, and to relax your neck and shoulders. Then, take your right pinky and do the same for the other side.
2) Place your right index finger and middle finger on your left cheek (‘fake gun’ style). Then, take your right thumb and massage the left side of your jaw, on the inside. I find that the pinky gives you more control, and the thumb allows you to apply more pressure. The combo of the two allows you to reach all the tender spots. Start at the joint again, but also massage your whole cheekbone and any other spots you can reach. Then, take your left thumb and do the same for your right side. All other rules apply (chewing, breathing, relaxing).
It might feel a bit strange at first, but give it a try! I’m sure you’ve done stranger things in your life 😉 Besides, you’ll notice a huge difference immediately in your jaw tension, especially if you make it a habit. Most of my students do it 3 times a week, and totally miss it when they skip it.
Hope this helps you get rid of your jaw tension! Stay tuned for part 2, where it really starts getting interesting…
Medical disclaimer: The information contained herein is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment in any manner. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding any medical condition. All information in this blog and on the Vocal Psychology website is intended for informational and educational purposes only and any use thereof is solely at your own risk.