The jaw is an area where many of us hold tightness, often linked to emotional stress. If you grind your teeth, it can add to that tension and cause you to wake up with a sore jaw.
I recommend doing this short facial massage routine every night before you go to bed. It will help to relax your jaw and hopefully prevent you from waking up in pain. It is also a lovely soothing way to find calm before you settle for sleep.
The whole routine should only take around five to six minutes, so it is easy to slot it in after your skincare in the evenings.
Just a note before we get started. This is not a substitute for any medical advice. If you are experiencing serious pain or have a medical condition that is contributing to your jaw pain, please speak to your doctor.
But if you grind your teeth at night or hold tension in your jaw, these facial massage moves should help.
As always before we start a face yoga or facial massage routine, we want to have clean hands and clean skin.
You also want to apply a few drops of serum to help your fingers glide more easily over your skin. I use the serum from my line, Fusion by Danielle Collins. It’s deeply moisturising, so it’s a great one to use before bed so that it can sink in and nourish your skin as you sleep.
Then, find a comfortable place to sit, making sure you have your back straight and your shoulders relaxed down away from your ears. You may want to have a mirror available, so you can see what you’re doing.
1. Fists to Cheekbones
Form your hands into fists and press your knuckles up under your cheekbones. Find a pressure that works for you – I always urge you to listen to your body and work to your own level with any face yoga routine.
Keeping your hands in place, open your mouth. Straight away you should feel the release in your jaw. Close your mouth and open it again, continuing for around 30 seconds to 1 minute.
If you notice a lot of tension at the back of your jaw, where it meets the upper face, you may want to shift your fists back slightly to help release the tightness there.
You should feel a sense of the tension releasing, but this move shouldn’t be painful. Stop if it is.
This technique is one from my new book, the Face Yoga Journal, which is due out on 5th October 2021.
2. Circular Massage
Take two fingers of each hand to your jaw, starting at your chin. Massage along your jawbone in a firm circular motion. When you get to the corner of your jaw, lift your fingers off and return to your chin to repeat the move a few more times.
If any areas feel especially tight, you can spend a little longer there to release the tension and help relax the whole jaw.
3. Lift and Release Jaw
Form the index and middle fingers of both hands into a hook shape. Hold them about a finger’s width apart so that you can place the knuckle of your middle finger above your jawbone and the knuckle of your index finger below the bone.
Starting at your chin, smooth your knuckles over your jawbone towards your ears. When you get to your ears, lift your hands off and replace them at your chin. Repeat this as many times as you like.
This is a beautiful and simple move to release tension from your jaw. As a bonus, it also helps to tone and lift the jaw area. All these facial massage moves will give you the benefits of a wonderful natural facelift, as well as relaxing your jaw area.
4. Acupressure Point
Take your index fingers to the spot behind your ear lobe where your jawbone meets your ear. This spot can be very tight and tender, so choose a pressure that works for you. There’s no need to press too hard here.
As you keep your fingers on the points, keep breathing through your nose, concentrating on a slow, deep inhale and exhale.
If it feels OK, give the points a little massage by moving your fingers in a small, circular motion. Go one way first and then the other.
5. Lion’s Pose
This next exercise is a fantastic one for releasing your whole face. It might feel a bit strange at first, but it is wonderful for letting go of stress and tension.
Often jaw pain is associated with trying to over-control our emotions. Lion’s Pose helps to release that control and let everything go.
Close your eyes and bring your hands up beside your face, forming them into fists. Take a deep inhale through your nose, slightly scrunching up your face as you breathe in.
Open your eyes, spread your fingers out wide, and stick out your tongue. At the same time, exhale forcefully through your mouth, making a ‘ha’ sound at the back of your throat so that your breath mimics a lion’s roar.
Repeat this a total of five times, concentrating on releasing all the tension from your face and fully relaxing your jaw.
6. Thumbs to Jaw
Make sure you have applied serum for this move so that your thumbs can glide easily over your skin.
Take your thumbs onto your jawbone underneath your chin. Following the line of the bone, smooth them out towards the corner of your jawbone. When you get there, lift your thumbs back off and bring them back to your chin to repeat the move.
As you do this, close your eyes, and continue to breathe through your nose. Have a sense of your whole face relaxing – forehead, cheeks, and especially the jaw area. Let go of any last bits of tension you might be holding.
Open your eyes and take a few big shoulder rolls to release your shoulders and upper back. You can also do some neck releases – gently tilt your head back, then forward, then to one side and the other.
Tension in your neck or shoulders often manifests as tightness in the jaw as well. Whenever you remember throughout the day, do some shoulder or neck releases to help prevent jaw pain.
That’s it – six simple techniques you can use every day if you grind your teeth. I have a video of this routine available via my YouTube channel too, so you can watch me demonstrate each step. Don’t forget to subscribe while you are there – I share regular videos with short face yoga or massage routines, as well as plenty of wellness tips.