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  • Writer's pictureFrancesco Holistic

TMJ Massage Therapy: Benefits & Self Massage Techniques

Updated: Dec 8, 2022

TMJ — also known as Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder — can be extremely painful for some people. It can feel like sharp pain in your jaw or near your ear. TMJ can also make chewing and eating food painful. For some, TMJ can also lead to jaw locking so that even opening or closing your mouth to talk is painful. Living with these types of symptoms every day can be really challenging but thankfully massage therapy is incredibly effective in relieving jaw pain and TMJ effects.

Hands holding open a patient's jaw

This post will help you understand more about TMJ and how massage therapy can help. I will also help you understand the causes of TMJ and teach you helpful at-home self-care techniques so you can extend the benefits of your massage treatments for the days that follow your appointment. If you struggle with TMJ and need help — massage therapy is a great solution.

What Causes TMJ?

Determining an exact cause of TMJ is tough but it usually can be attributed to some type of trauma, an overbite, excessive wear and tear, arthritis, or grinding your teeth.

Person holding their chin in their hands

What Does TMJ Feel Like?

Like with any disorder, TMJ has multiple symptoms and they can be experienced differently by everyone. However, most times people with TMJ experience one or more of the following symptoms: jaw tenderness, headaches, dizziness, earaches, lockjaw, or difficulty speaking or eating.

White man yawning

Can Massage Help My TMJ?

Some estimates are that TMJ affects up to 40% of adults which makes it more common than you might think. Thankfully, there have been several studies that have found massage therapy to be extremely effective in treating TMJ and jaw pain.

Massage & TMJ Trigger Points

Massage for TMJ focuses on different trigger points. This includes the masseter muscle which rests above and below your cheekbone. Massaging this area can help lessen tension headaches and relieve ear and toothaches.

Massage therapist working on patient's neck and chin area

There are also muscles in your neck - the suboccipital muscle group that rests at the back of your head - that are TMJ trigger points. The temporal muscles in front of your ears and the upper trapezius, a large band of muscles spanning the neck, upper back, and shoulders are all also trigger points and when massaged properly can relieve muscle tension in the jaw and TMJ symptoms.

A TMJ Self Massage Technique

So how do you maintain the benefits of your massage appointment after you get home? There are self-massage techniques you can use to keep your jaw pain at bay in-between appointments.

  • Stand up tall with your feet flat on the ground

  • Gently move your chin up and down as if you were saying the word ‘YES’

  • Rest your jaw and begin to massage lightly on either side in circular motions

You should feel your muscles begin to relax and become less tender as you massage. If the pain gets stronger, stop immediately and talk to a professional.

You can watch how to do a self-massage for TMJ here.

Where Can I Get Massage For TMJ in Edmonton?

If you’ve been looking for solutions for your jaw pain or TMJ symptoms and want to try massage therapy, book an appointment with me. My clinic is located on the west side of Edmonton and I have a lot of experience treating TMJ.

Hands on a person's forehead

By identifying the cause and correct trigger points to focus on, we can develop a treatment plan that is customized to you. I also want to arm you with the tools to help you feel great long after you get off the massage table. That means giving you helpful self-massage techniques to do at home as well as other tips and tricks including relaxation exercises and diaphragmatic breathing. You can book an appointment online here or email me at

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