I grind and I grind, I clench and I clench and I’ve got a few lines on my forehead. Isn’t that normal for a woman approaching 40 with two children and a busy schedule? I worry about my pelvic floor and I would like a flatter stomach, so I do yoga and I work out but I thought I just had to live with the grinding and clenching and the subsequent dull and persistent jaw ache until I attended a session with Lynn Rae and realised that I don’t. Lynn is a specialist in remedial face and jaw realignment. It sounds like a mouthful but think of it as a massage and a workout for your face, jaw, and posture as a whole.
Lynn has been practising facial and intra-oral massage for six years now and was previously a Sport and Remedial massage therapist and Pilates instructor. Before that she was a make-up artist. It’s safe to say, that she has spent most of her career focussing on alignment, strength and how the natural face looks and feels.
I stepped into her studio which is a haven of tranquillity still not knowing exactly what was in store for me, Lynn checked out my alignment. It turns out I put all my weight on my left side, I stick my head out too far forward when I stand and when she asked me how felt about my face, I explained that after years of orthodontic treatment and a lot of clenching, I didn’t really feel comfortable with my bite and my jaw felt unnatural.
She started off with sound therapy which uses specific sound waves to soothe and balance the nervous system and release energy blockages within the chakras. She doesn’t do this with everyone, just for those who are interested and open to it. I personally found it very relaxing and peaceful.
I lay on the massage table and Lynn held my head in her hands. You don’t realise how hard it is to let your head completely drop until you try this, but I did and only when I was fully relaxed did Lynn start to massage and align my right shoulder and then my left. She worked her hands down to the middle of my back and right up to my shoulders. This was incredibly pleasing, but I was still wondering what this had to do with jaw realignment. I daren’t not interrupt to ask as she massaged my neck and my head – it was just blissful.
At this point, one might argue that I was lulled into a false sense of security as the jaw realignment bit came, and it was intrusive, but it wasn’t painful. Lynn, put her rubber gloved fingers into my mouth and slowly, but firmly massaged my jaw from the inside and outside, working all along my jaw line and massaging my top lip. She asked me to open and close, move my jaw to the left and to the right. It feels like the discomfort of a really satisfying work out, but when you are done, you feel like a million dollars.
I hadn’t really realised how tense I was until she had finished. Normally, my jaw is a little clicky and I always have a dull ache from all the clenching, but suddenly my mouth felt soft and elasticated -like the bellows of an accordion moving easily – open and close. My whole face felt relaxed and everything fell where it was supposed to, not tight, not clenched, just comfortable.
Now of course my question was how long would this feeling last before the tightness and the aches returned. Lynn had an answer for this. She sent me a document with some really easy facial exercises that can be done whilst getting ready for work, driving in the car, anywhere really as long as you don’t mind pulling a few silly faces.
Her advice is that you have to train your muscles not to go back into a tight state, you need to exercise, strengthen them like any other muscle in the body. Besides feeling good, the exercises also help with keeping wrinkles at bay, so it’s win, win really!
She recommends an average of three sessions with her. This is obviously dependent on your condition and how bad it is.
Lynn is an experienced practitioner. But she is also a wise soul. She’s just the right balance of kind and tough that demands respect, with a tenderness and sincerity that exudes empathy and a real love of her craft. She admits that it sounds corny when she talks about love in her fingers, but it is true, I could feel it in her hands as she worked intuitively with my face.
The only way I can describe her session is a cross between a luxurious shoulder and head massage at a Sri Lankan spa and a rigorous physio session for the face, where she is coaxing your facial muscle and tissues to relax but not manipulating them so forcefully that you are in pain.
If you hold tension in your face or ache, have a slightly lopsided face, clench or grind your teeth, I recommend you contact her.
Lynn teaches people how to do facial exercises, but if you want to feel the true impact of her work, I recommend booking in a remedial face and jaw massage with her. You won’t be disappointed!