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When's the last time you really spent some time on a client's jaw? It can seem like a distraction when you've got plenty of other work to do, but what if it could be the key to solving a constellation of problems? What if it could make your practice stand out in a sea of other practitioners? The technique I'm about to describe is based on myofascial release, but don't let that term worry you. It just means we're going to move slowly and consider the tissue broadly rather than focusing on any individual muscle. But first, when should you use it? THE WHY I ask about the jaw any time my client describes neck or head pain, especially if there are multiple components involved. For instance, if a client tells me they have neck pain, and further investigation reveals headache and neck stiffness, my next question will be, "Is there anything going on with your jaw?" I'll also jump immediately to jaw work if a client reports having headaches that are primarily in their temples. That's based on my own clinical experience, but studies do indeed show a strong correlation between jaw disorders and headaches in general. Jaw problems will vary widely from client to client, but don't feel like you need to have the answer to why their jaw pops, or be able to recognize any specific dysfunction. We won't be changing any muscle in particular or trying to force a new configuration of the joint. Instead, we're going to approach this from a myofascial perspective and let the client's body make the change for us. Note: If a client mentions new or unusual jaw pain or dysfunction, refer them to their doctor or dentist for evaluation. 96 m a s s a g e & b o d y w o r k m a r c h / a p r i l 2 0 1 9 technique THE MASSAGE SLOTH Ironing Out the Jaw By Ian Harvey

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