Muscle tension is almost a reflex reaction to stress—with sudden onset stress, the muscles tense up all at once. Eventually, this tension may lead to discomfort and pain in certain areas of the face and neck, and if it’s not addressed, could lead to puffiness in the face, deepened expression lines or lackluster complexion due to reduced circulation.
Thankfully, there are a few simple jaw exercises you can do at home to combat the issue, and make an easy-to-integrate part of your regular routine. Here are 10 pro-approved moves that will help you keep the area strong and tension free.
1. Resisted mouth opening
This move will help with your range of motion. Start by placing your thumb or two fingers under your chin. Open your mouth slowly, pushing up lightly on your chin with your thumb. Hold the position for three-to-six seconds, then close your mouth slowly.
2. Resisted mouth closing
Next, flip it in reverse with the opposite version of the move. Place your thumbs under your chin and your two index fingers on the ridge between your mouth and the bottom of your chin. Push down lightly on your chin as you close your mouth.
3. Tongue up
This next set of jaw exercises are all about mobility. Press your tongue to the roof of your mouth, applying as much pressure as is comfortable for you. Slowly open and close your mouth while keeping your tongue in position. Be sure to stop if you experience any pain.
4. Side-to-side jaw movement
Place an object about a quarter-of-an-inch thick (a la two tongue depressors) between your front teeth. Slowly move your jaw from side to side. Increase the thickness of the object as the exercise becomes easier.