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Acupuncture & Natural Health Solutions Newsletter   Providing Natural Health Care for the Entire Family
Issue #2015-07b



Acupuncture For Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction



 Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ) is a common condition that is characterized by pain and jaw dysfunction. TMJ is used to describe a wide range of conditions associated with jaw pain and restricted jaw movement. While TMJ isn't life-threatening, it can negatively impact a person's quality of life, causing bouts of insomnia, stress, pain and disability.


It's estimated that up to 30 percent of the world's adult population suffers from TMJ, most of whom are between the ages of 20 and 40. Many people living with this condition simply mask the pain with prescription painkillers or other medications. In doing so, however, they create other problems, such as increased stress on the liver and stomach.


Acupuncture offers an alternative treatment that instead of masking the pain, works to reduce symptoms at the source.

While there's no guarantee that it will cure your condition, several studies suggest that it acupuncture does in fact help relieve the pain and other symptoms associated with TMJ.


One recent study involving 70 dental patients in the U.K. found that acupuncture relieved their pain by as much as 75 percent.


Another study found acupuncture to offer long-term patient satisfaction when used to treat TMJ (acupuncture treatment was given 18-20 years prior to the follow-up).

The 2,000-year-old practice of acupuncture involves the placement of thin needles directly under the skin in specific locations known as acupuncture points.


Acupuncturists believe that when we are healthy, our body is in balance and our natural energies are flowing properly. There are times when the body's natural flow will be blocked, disrupted, or stagnant, leaving the person susceptible to disease and illness.


Acupuncture works by releasing these blockages through acupuncture points to return your body to its natural flow.

Acupuncture is also known to stimulate the body's self-healing process, which could in turn relieve the muscle tension attributed to TMJ.


People with TMJ often clench or grind their jaws without realizing it. Acupuncture treatment can help relax the muscles from their clenched position.

Give me a call today to learn how you can get back on track to better health!

For Sources article:

1. Acupuncture for Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorder 

2. Orofacial Pain Clinic Acupuncture





  5 Tips to Help With TMJ


Commonly known as TMJ, temporomandibular joint pain affects over 10 million Americans and can involve difficulty chewing, jaw muscle stiffness and painful popping or clicking, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. 

Although for some people the pain of TMJ goes away on its own, others develop long-term problems and need treatment to help their pain. 

Here are five tips you can practice at home to help your TMJ symptoms.

1. Jaw Exercises  

  • Try opening your mouth as wide as you can without feeling pain, move your jaw to the right and hold for 10 seconds, do the same to the left and repeat five times.
  • Massage the muscles around your jaw hinge in a downward motion.

2. Relaxation

Stress and anxiety are very common inducers of TMJ. Some people tend to clench their jaw when feeling stressed or anxious, which results in TMJ symptoms. 
  • Practice deep breathing. The best way to do this is to lie on your back, place your left hand on your stomach and right hand on your chest. Count to five to inhale, hold your inhale for two seconds, and exhale for five seconds. 
  • Stretch your spine. Interlock your hands behind your head and bend forward with straight legs so that your head is reaching for the floor. Stay in this position for at least ten seconds accompanied with awareness to breathing. This practice can deeply stretch and relax your spinal chord and reduce TMJ pain.  

3. Vitamins and Minerals

Deficiencies in calcium and magnesium are found to be common in people suffering from TMJ. The International Dental Association conducted a study on 50 TMJ sufferers who added calcium and magnesium supplements to their routine and found pain relief in 70 percent of the participants. 

  • Magnesium rich food: Cashews, avocados, almonds soybeans, sesame butter, spinach, squash, sunflower seeds, rice, flaxseed. 
  • Calcium rich food: milk, banana, almond, spinach, coconut, yogurt.

4. Herbal Remedies 
  • Rhus Toxicodendron: This herb can help relieve jaw stiffness. 
  • Kava Root: If your TMJ is due to stress or anxiety, Kava can be used to calm your nervous system and in turn, reduce TMJ symptoms caused by anxiety like a stiff jaw. 
  • Magnesia Phosphorica: This homeopathic remedy can ease muscle stiffness and has an antispasmodic effect. 

5. Acupuncture
  • Acupuncture has proven to be effective in treating TMJ in a number of ways. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, TMJ often represents an imbalance in the liver and gallbladder meridians which traverse the areas usually associated with TMJ pain.
  • Acupuncture points focused on these areas can stimulate the healing process, and return the meridians and the body back to balance, improving your TMJ symptoms. 

Sources (click the link to read article):  

1. Temporomandibular joint dysfunction  

2. 21 Home Remedies Exercises and Natural Cures for TMJ Treatment

3. Kava-cure

Recipe Corner  


Drunken Chicken Soup




  • Tonifies Qi and Blood.

  • Invigorates Blood and disperses stagnation.

  • Warms the Yang and disperses coldness.

  • Strengthens the Spleen.



  • 1 whole chicken 
  • 1400 cc (1400 ml) rice wine
  • 10 g (0.4 oz) cinnamon twigs

  • 3 g (0.1 oz) tangkuei (??)

  • 3 g (0.1 oz) cnidium (???)

  • 3 g (0.1 oz) rehmannia (cooked) (??)

  • 30 pieces (0.1 oz) jujube (red) (??)

  • 10 g (0.4 oz) lycium (???)

  • 5 g (0.2 oz) codonopsis (??)

  • 10 g (0.4 oz) astragalus root (??)

  •  3 g (0.1oz) licorice (??)

This recipe makes 5 ~ 7 servings




  1. Remove giblets from cav?ity of chicken. Wash the chicken thoroughly.

  2. Chop into 3 inch pieces (bone in).



  1. Place chicken pieces in a deep stainless steel pan (do not use Teflon-coated pans). Add the rice wine and all of the herbs. Cover with a lid.

  2. Bring to a boil. Uncover the pan and ignite the alcohol vapor and wait for the fire to extinguish on its own.

  3. Cook over medium flame for 30 minutes or until jujube softens.

  4. Server hot



Additional Information for the above Chinese Herbs used in the Recipe:



Tangkuei (Dang Gui or Tong-Kui) ??


The dried root of A. sinensis is commonly known as Chinese angelica (??; d?nggu?; tong-kui) and is widely used in Chinese traditional medicine for women's health, cardiovascular conditions, osteoarthritis, inflammation, headache, infections, mild anemia, fatigue and high blood pressure despite a lack of clinical data and trials showing effectiveness in humans.

From the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), dong quai is considered sweet, acrid, and warm in properties. And it covers three meridians, including liver, heart, and spleen. Its key functions are to enrich the blood and invigorate the circulation of blood, regulate the menstrual function to ease pain, and loose the bowel to relieve constipation.



Cnidium (She Chuang Zi) ???


Cnidium is a plant that is native to China. It has also been found in the US in Oregon. The fruit, seed, and other plant parts are used as medicine. Cnidium has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for thousands of years, often for skin conditions. It's not surprising that cnidium is a common ingredient in Chinese lotions, creams, and ointments.

The medicinal part of cnidium monnieri, also known as She Chuang Zi in Chinese herbal medicine, is its fruits or seeds, which have long been considered an essential herb for skin diseases and pruritus.



Rehmannia (cooked) Shu Di Huang ??


Cooked rehmannia root, also called Shu Di Huang in Pinyin, is produced throughout China. However, when it comes to medicinal uses, the herb from Huaiqing region in Henan province is thought to be the most "authentic" species. Thanks to its wide ranging medicinal properties, it has long been known as one of the 4 most famous Huai-medicines. Compared to raw or fresh rehmannia root, its tonic properties have been greatly enhanced by processing.



Jujube (Da Zao) ??


Jujube fruit, also known as red date, Da Zao, and Chinese date, is native to China. Actually jujube tree has been cultivated there since 4,000 years ago. In ancient times, it was classified as "The Five Fruits" along with peach, plum, prunes mume, and apricot. The benefits of jujube are too numerous to ignore.


Lycium (Gou Qi Zi) ???


Goji berries, also known as Gou Qi Zi, have been regarded as general nutritive tonic, noted anti-aging herb, and eyesight-improving medicine since long time ago. In order to keep in good health, promote good eyesight, and slow down aging, people keen on nourishing life consume it on daily basis by making tea, soaking in rice wine, stewing soup, cooking congee, and many other ways. That is why this herb is frequently found in many excellent cuisine and herbal recipes. Thanks to it is rich in a variety of nutrients such as carotene, vitamin A1, B1, B2, C, calcium, iron and other necessary nutrients, today this miracle fruit has been extensively applied for many purposes.



Codonopsis (Dang Shen) ??


Codonopsis pilosula is no stranger to most Chinese since this herb is a common ingredient in the everyday recipes of soups and steamed dishes. In China it is better known as Dang Shen, a major tonic for nourishing the vitality. As you may know, ginseng is another key Qi tonic.



Astragalus root (Huang Qi) ??


Astragalus root, also called Huang Qi (literally yellow senior) in Chinese name, is a common herb that is frequently used in traditional Chinese medicine. In addition to its extensive medicinal uses, this herb is also one important ingredient in many popular Cantonese soup recipes for the purpose of tonifying. As one of the 50 fundamental Chinese herbs that are frequently used in TCM, astragalus actually has been used as an essential tonic for more than 2,000 years.



Licorice (Gan Cao) ??


In traditional Chinese medicine, liquorice (??), is believed to "harmonize" the ingredients in a formula and to carry the formula to the 12 "regular meridians".

Licorice root, also known as Gan Cao and Radix Glycyrrhizae, is one of well-known herbs primarily used as a harmonizer in Chinese herbal formulas. By contract, western clinical medicine uses it more as a moderator thanks to its anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and antacid effects. In fact, this herb has long been used as medicine in ancient China since 2,000 years ago, which was recorded in the oldest herbology classic of "Shen Nong's Herbal Classic" and listed as one of the superior drugs there. In addition, it was highly regarded as "the Teacher of Emperors" in the kingdom of herbs by Tao Hongjing, a famous physician in the Southern Dynasties (420-589).

The information contained within the  newsletter is only used to educate and inform. This newsletter is  not a substitute for the advice of a licensed and registered health  care provider. Seek prompt attention for emergencies. Consult  a health care provider for specific health concerns, and before  starting a diet, cleanse or exercise routine.
Monthly Acupuncture Column Featured in SW Florida's Health & Wellness Magazine 


Toni Eatros, AP,

Acupuncture Physician, 
is the  featured acupuncture columnist in the popular SW Florida's Health & Wellness Magazine.
Be sure to check out the  July issue, on stands now, entitled  Treating Kidney Stones with Chinese Herbal Medicine and Acupuncture
Click the link below 
Acupressure points


Rubbing acupuncture

points with your finger for  30 - 60 seconds can stimulate and promote the circulation of Qi within your own body,  restoring health and well-being. 




Stomach 6

(ST 6):

English: Jawbone

Chinese: Jiache




One finger width anterior and superior to the angle to the mandible. You can find this point when you clench your teeth. 




 Alleviates facial pain, TMJ, toothache. facial twitching, facial pain and paralysis.




Stomach 7

(ST 7):

English: Below the Joint

Chinese: Xiaguan





To best locate this point, open the mouth. The point is located anterior to the ear, in the depression between the zygomatic arch and the mandibular notch.



Benefits the ears, jaw and teeth. Good for hearing issues, tinnitus, ear pain and TMJ.

Gallbladder 3

(GB 3):

English: Upper Gate

Chinese: Shang Guan




First locate ST7, then run a finger superior, over the zygomatic arch, into the hollow.



Helps the ears, alleviates facial pain and TMJ. Locate point for headaches. 



Research Update:
Acupuncture & TMJ


Evidence of Acupuncture Reducing Symptoms of TMJ

A study published by the British Acupuncture Society found that "acupuncture is a simple, relatively safe and potentially efficacious and useful technique in the management of temporomandibular dysfunction (TMJ)."



By returning the body's natural flow back to order, acupuncture
can relieve pain and inflammation in the jaw.



The study found that acupuncture produced a beneficial effect in 85 percent of participants suffering from TMJ and a pain reduction intensity on average of 75 percent.



Another study done at the Ribeira?o Preto Dental School at Sa?o Paulo University in Brazil concluded that patients with TMJ had significantly less pain, less clenching and increased strength of bite after three months of acupuncture treatment.



If you or someone you know is suffering from TMJ, refer them to an acupuncturist for alternative treatment options. 


Health Tips:
Self Care for TMJ

Often jaw problems resolve on their own in several weeks to months. If you have recently experienced TMJ pain and/or dysfunction, you may find relief with some or all of the following therapies. 



Moist Heat

Moist heat from a heat pack or a hot water bottle wrapped in a warm, moist towel can improve function and reduce pain. Be careful to avoid burning yourself when using heat.


Ice packs can decrease inflammation and also numb pain and promote healing. Do not place an ice pack directly on your skin. Keep the pack wrapped in a clean cloth while you are using it. Do not use an ice pack for more than 10 - 15 minutes.

Soft Diet

Soft or blended foods allow the jaw to rest temporarily. Remember to avoid hard, crunchy, and chewy foods. Do not stretch your mouth to accommodate such foods as corn on the cob, apples, or whole fruits.

Over the-Counter Analgesics

For many people with TMJ Disorders, short-term use of over-the-counter pain medicines or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), such as ibuprofen, may provide temporary relief from jaw discomfort. When necessary, your dentist or doctor can prescribe stronger pain or anti-inflammatory medications, muscle relaxants, or antidepressants to help ease symptoms. 

Jaw Exercises

Slow, gentle jaw exercises may help increase jaw mobility and healing. Your health care provider or a physical therapist can evaluate your condition and suggest appropriate exercises based on your individual needs. A recent study found therapeutic jaw exercises bring earlier recovery of jaw function compared to splints! Click here to read the specific jaw exercises used in this study.

Relaxation Techniques

Relaxation and guided imagery can be helpful in dealing with the pain that accompanies TMJ dysfunction. Deep, slow breathing enhances relaxation and modulates pain sensations. Some have found yoga, massage, and meditation helpful in reducing stress and aiding relaxation.


Side Sleeping

Sleep on your side using pillow support between shoulder and neck.

Relax Facial Muscles

Make a concerted effort to relax your lips, and keep teeth apart.


Use your fist to support your chin as you yawn to prevent damage to the joint and prevent your jaw from locking open. 



Reference Books


The TMJ Healing Plan: Ten Steps to Relieving Persistent Jaw, Neck and Head Pain



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Taking Control of TMJ: Your Total Wellness Program for Recovering from Temporomandibular Joint Pain, Whiplash, Fibromyalgia, and Related Disorders 


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TMJ No More: The Complete Guide to TMJ Causes, Symptoms, & Treatments, Plus a Holistic System to Relieve TMJ Pain Naturally & Permanently 


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