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A little self care. Between the plough and the crow’s beak.

There are lots of ways to help oneself through touch. One of my favourites involves connecting to a space between three landmarks - places in the body that you can get to know in order to navigate where you might like to be. The three landmarks are: the cheek bone (or zygomatic arch), the coronoid process of the jaw and the TMJ (temporomandibular joint). The zygomatic arch is so named because it resembles the shape of a plough and the coronoid process is called that because it resembles the beak of a crow. There are lots of these delicate and elegant namings in anatomy - I find them rather beautiful. You can see these three landmarks in this image.

The coronoid process is the projection of the jaw that tucks up under the cheekbone - it looks like it’s heading in the direction of the eye, and the TMJjoint is just behind that - nearer the ear. So there are two projections and between them a little gap whose roof is determined by the cheek bone. It’s that gap I’d invite you to engage with if you are feeling tight or uncomfortable in the way your jaw is behaving today. To find the gap first find the joint just in front of your ear - if you open and close your mouth enough to cause the joint to open nicely it’ll be easy to locate - then slide or roll your fingers a little forward and a little down - probably just a fingers width or so. You will land in a satisfying depression - a little hole marked by the TMJ, the Coronoid and the Cheekbone. Sink in. You are in contact with the Masseter Muscle. Press gently and then with more intention for several minutes. Maybe roll in little circles. And see if you perceive anything changing - softening perhaps. Jaws are complex things - as complex as we are - but this simple exercise might help a little…or sometimes quite a lot.

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