By Kyle D. McIntyre, PT, DPT, CFMT
Do you suffer from jaw pain? Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), or jaw pain, is a common issue affecting an estimated 5 to 12% of the general population.
Holistic functional manual therapy (FMT) can identify the cause(s) and alleviate your pain, without primary doctor or dental visits and expensive treatments such as braces.
Why does my jaw hurt?
The temporomandibular joints (TMJ), are synovial joints, like your knees or shoulders. The joint capsule has a disc, which splits the joint into two separate cavities. There are also muscles and ligaments supporting the joints in your jaw.
So, jaw pain can result from issues with the disc, muscles and/or ligaments – as well as teeth alignment and other issues.
When people have pain, they commonly seek help from a primary care physician. In the case of TMD, many go to a dentist of orthodontist. (Dental treatment of jaw pain includes the use of retainers, braces, injections, surgery, and/or medications.)
However, very few people realize the benefits of natural, mechanical treatment of their jaw.
FMT: a holistic approach for jaw pain
Using the functional manual therapy (FMT) approach, we assess a client’s cranial, facial and cervical structures, in addition to the TMJs.
We commonly find many other dysfunctions that can drive jaw pain. FMT offers natural solutions to alleviate pain and correct the source of the problem. For example:
Bite/teeth alignment – With FMT, we can mobilize your palate (roof of your mouth) and teeth to correct over- or under-bite issues, the same way that braces or a retainer corrects a bite. The advantages of FMT: we can be much more focused and specific for short, direct treatment. By assisting in correcting teeth alignment, we can help you avoid expensive braces.
Neuromuscular and motor control – In addition to mechanical assessment and treatment, in the FMT approach we assess neuromuscular and motor control. In the case of TMD, good head and neck control is needed along with proper control of the TMJs directly.
In the medical field, this an often overlooked issue that can be causing pain and dysfunction. If your quadriceps muscle was weak, or wasn’t firing properly, how would you expect to have a healthy knee? The same concept can be applied to your TMJs.
For jaw pain – and any other body aches or pains – FMT is a complete and natural solution.
We’re able to identify the often complex, multiple contributing-factors causing a client’s pain, which is the key to resolving pain issues: finding the main cause and treating it holistically, without medication, costly appliances (e.g., braces) or surgery.
Kyle is a Physical Therapist with a Doctorate in Physical Therapy; he is also a Certified Functional Manual Therapist.
By Cathy Logan, CHC, COT, CECP
The health of your mouth directly correlates to the health of your body. A natural way to extract the bacteria in your mouth is called ‘oil pulling.’
What is it? Oil pulling is rooted in Ayurvedic medicine, dating back more than 3000 years. It’s essentially using pure oil like a mouthwash.
Benefits of Oil Pulling
Candida and Streptococcus are commonly found in the mouth. These germs can cause plaque and tooth decay, as well as secondary infections and chronic inflammation throughout the body.
Oil pulling can lessen this toxic burden on your immune system – by preventing the spread of harmful organisms from your mouth to the rest of your body via the bloodstream. Like foot reflexology, your tongue is ‘connected’ to organs, so oral care can prevent illness and may be curative.
In addition to boosting the immune system, benefits associated with oil pulling include:
- Preventing cavities and tooth decay
- Whitening and strengthening teeth
- Improving breath and easing halitosis
- Deterring gingivitis and healing bleeding gums
- Lessening jaw pain/TMJ
- Alleviating sinus problems, sleep issues, headaches and skin conditions
When pulling is combined with the antimicrobial power of coconut oil, you have a very powerful health tool.
Oil Pulling at Home: How-to Guide
I recommend doing oil pulling 3 to 4 times each week, on an empty stomach: it’s best to do this process in the morning before you eat or drink anything.
It’s actually very simple:
- Put about 1 tablespoon of organic, unrefined coconut oil on a spoon
- Put the spoon in your mouth (the oil will melt/soften right away)
- Swish the oil inside your mouth like mouthwash, pulling the oil through your teeth and around your mouth for 10 to 20 minutes
- Spit out into a trash can (not the sink): do not swallow
- Rinse with warm water to eliminate residue
- Brush and floss teeth as you normally do
It’s important to remember that when you’re finished “pulling” you must NOT swallow, as it’s VERY toxic (all of the toxins you pulled from your mouth should not be swallowed). I strongly suggest spitting it out in the trash can, because oil can clog your sink drain.
You may find a whole tablespoon of oil seems like a lot at first, so try starting with 1 to 2 teaspoons. Why? As the oil pulls in saliva and bacteria from your mouth, the amount of oil-mix in your mouth will increase.
I know 20 minutes will feel like a long time! So, start with 5 minutes and gradually increase the time you keep the oil in your mouth.
If you’re not a fan of coconut oil, sesame oil is equally effective. You can also add essential oils to the coconut oil. As these oils get absorbed by the oral mucosa, your body will enjoy the antioxidant and medicinal powers:
- For everyday use, try one drop each of clove, orange, lemon and peppermint
- When battling an infection or sickness, try one drop each of clove, cinnamon, oregano and tea tree as a homeopathic remedy
As always, we at Chesapeake Holistic are here to help. Please call with any questions about oil pulling or other natural health practices.
Cathy is a Certified Health Coach, and a Certified ONDAMED® Technician and Emotion Code® Practitioner.
By Carol Heckman, RN, CHNP, CNC, MH
This month, we’ve been informing you about holistic approaches for oral health.
So, I thought I’d pass along a free and important health tip I share with all of my clients (as the first step in their wellness plans): Chew Your Food!
It’s so simple, but proper chewing is often overlooked. We’re all guilty of eating on the run and “inhaling” our food – even though many of our parents hounded “Chew your food,” but (likely) never really explained why.
When I go over this point on a client’s wellness plan, some think I’m joking. I know it sounds silly, but I’m very serious about how vital it is to your health to thoroughly chew your food. And, research continues to support this practice.
How chewing improves health
Having digestion troubles? Start chewing. Chewing is how food digestion begins: it starts with the stimulation of saliva production and digestive motility. This process is called mastication. If you properly chew food, when it reaches your stomach and small intestine (where the majority of digestion occurs) the rest of your food can be digested with ease.
Studies show that chewing your food well aids in reducing acid reflux and bloating (Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics Journal), and maintaining weight (Obesity Society Research Journal). Consider following the old adage: “Drink your solids and chew your liquid,” meaning chew your food to a liquid state to assist in break-down and digestion.
Feeling tired? Start chewing. The more you chew, the more energy you’ll get from your food. In a 2013 Purdue University study, participants were monitored to assess the relationship between how many times a food source is chewed (e.g., 10, 25, and 40 times) and the amount of energy lost by the body. The participants who chewed food the most times retained more energy!
Feeling Run Down? Start chewing. In an ongoing study by the University of Manchester, published in 2017, scientists are showing the process of chewing stimulates a specific immune cell in the mouth – which helps protect us from bacterial and fungal infections.
Since oral inflammation is linked to poor health and disease, chewing is an important immune support available to us all.
Want more insight into your health? We can help. Schedule your health consultation with Carol today.
Carol is a Registered Nurse, a traditionally Certified Natural Health Practitioner, a Master Herbalist, and a Certified Nutritional Consultant.
By Lisa Manning, CST, CHt
“Raise your words, not your voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.” – Rumi (Persian poet and Sufi master born in 1207)
Considering this month’s focus on oral health, I pondered the many areas of our lives that involve the mouth. The lips are highly sensitive to touch and, through our mouths, we seek physical as well as emotional nurturing. This is truly a powerful portal for interacting with the world!
Our first experiences as babies in the newly physical world are interpreted and played out through sensory touch and sound. Through our mouths, our hunger is satisfied and a kiss can be a greeting and express emotions of affection, high esteem or passion.
Our thoughts and emotions are also expressed through our ability to vocalize. We can whisper, roar, laugh, scream or simply chat about the weather.
The words we speak carry a weight of their own
Thoughts casually tossed out in the form of words may create lasting harm, just as a simple word of kindness could be forever remembered when offered at a time of great need. It’s worth the time it takes to consider your thoughts before speaking aloud.
There is a saying – “Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates”:
- At the first gate, ask yourself “Is it true?”
- At the second gate ask, “Is it necessary?”
- At the third gate ask, “Is it kind?”
This philosophy is a very good starting point for most thoughts, and it’s especially useful tool to use before having a difficult conversation with someone.
Is it true?
Are the words you’re about to say a true representation of things? Or, are you speaking about your own hurt, anger or desire to be right? Doing an honest inner inventory of your feelings can free you from repeatedly projecting emotions on others.
Is it necessary?
Just because you think it, doesn’t mean it needs to be said. Consider taking one full breath and pausing for a moment before expressing a thought, especially in tense situations.
Is it kind?
While what you’re about to say may be true, it may also be unkind. It’s worth considering the emotional impact that your words will have on the recipient. Does this really need to be said, and is now the time?
Inner mindfulness = ‘better’ words
When teaching classes, I refer to being mindful about what I say as ‘emotional landscaping.’ When you’re a careful gardener of your inner world, your impact on the outer world is far more positive. And you always have a choice!
Words are powerful. Though words can cause harm, they’re equally powerful for healing. The words of poets, sages and sacred texts can provide sources of hope, peace and transformation. The words that flow through your own consciousness every day, and even throughout your dream sleep, work to shape outcomes and reality.
We have control of what we let in and what we give out. This awareness can transform not only your inner world, but also the way you relate to everyone around you. With the right attention and focus, you’ll be on the road to cultivating the peaceful and successful outcomes you desire.
So, choose your words carefully! And wishing you success on the path.
“Words are seeds that do more than blow around. They land in our hearts and not the ground. Be careful what you plant and careful what you say. You might have to eat what you planted one day.”
Lisa is a licensed Craniosacral Therapist. She’s also a Master Certified Hypnotherapist, specializing in Somato-Emotional Hypnosis to address chronic pain and anxiety.
By Cathy Logan, CHC, COT, CECP
You may have heard people say “sleep is everything”… well, it actually is!
If you want to: live longer; have a strong, healthy body and a sharp, focused brain – and keep emotions positive and balanced – you need to recognize the importance of sleep.
How sleep strengthens your body and mind
Repairs the body. While sleeping, your body produces extra molecules that strengthen your immune system.
Keeps your heart healthy. Your cardiovascular system is constantly under pressure; sleep reduces stress levels in the body.
Controls body weight issues. Sleep can help regulate the hormones that affect and control your appetite.
Improves memory. Sleep enables your brain to better process new experiences and access stored knowledge.
Reduces occurrences of mood disorders. Lack of sleep leads to agitation. Chronic sleep loss can lead to anxiety and depression.
So, what do you do if you’re like the millions of people who have trouble getting to sleep and having a restful, restorative night? I have a few suggestions to help you overcome insomnia and improve the quality your sleep.
ONDAMED® sleep protocol
In past articles, I’ve explained how great ONDAMED is for healing and to alleviate pain. Well, it’s also wonderful for stress reduction and promoting restful sleep!
I often use ONDAMED’s special sleep protocol: the non-invasive pulsed electromagnetic frequencies stimulate natural healing responses in targeted areas (related to relaxation). In just a few 30-minute sessions, you may be on your way to dreamland.
Essential oils: which oils promote sleep and how-to tips
We talk a lot about the use of essential oils, which are good for so many things! The nine best essential oils to promote sleep are:
Valerian – Calms nervous system and helps with restlessness.
Valor – Balances nervous system; strengthens the body and mind. Also minimizes snoring.
Vetiver – Relaxes nervous system; reduces over-stimulation.
Roman Chamomile – Relaxes and calms; very good for children.
Lavender – Very calming; reduces anxious feelings.
Peace and Calming – Promotes relaxation, deep sense of peace and emotional wellbeing. Helps release negative emotions. Also wonderful for children.
Cedarwood – Relaxes/soothes; allows brain to stop processing.
Stress Away – Brings feelings of peace and tranquility; helps relieve daily stress and anxiety.
Orange – Lifts the spirit while calming the body; brings peace and happiness to the mind.
These oils may be used alone or together. You can diffuse, inhale or apply oils topically, or add one or more to a warm bath with Epsom salts. Try this sleepy time essential oil blend:
- 12 drops Orange
- 8 drops Lavender
- 4 drops Cedarwood
- 3 drops Valerian
- 2 drops Roman Chamomile
Mix oils in a clean glass roller bottle. Fill with a carrier-oil (e.g., Sweet Almond, Jojoba or Coconut). Roll the blend on your neck, pulse points or bottoms of feet before bed. Or, use this sleepy time blend in your diffuser before bed (keep diffuser on during sleep).
Another great idea for using oils to promote sleep is a DIY linen spray. You will need:
- Jar with a lid
- 1 oz (2T) Witch Hazel
- 10 drops Lavender
- 3 oz (6T) water
- Small funnel
- Spray bottle
Pour Lavender in the jar. Add Witch Hazel (keeps oil from separating from water). Shake for 15-20 seconds. Add the water to the jar. Shake again. Using the funnel, pour the mixture into the spray bottle. Spray on your sheets for a restful night’s sleep.
As always, we at Chesapeake Holistic are here to address any sleep issues you may have. Call us today for more ideas to achieve restful slumber. Remember, sleep really is everything!
Cathy is a Certified Health Coach, and a Certified ONDAMED® Technician and Emotion Code® Practitioner.