Ear and Jaw Massage

Somatic Technique

  1. Take a second to intentionally pause and be here now, wherever you are. You might be coming into this practice feeling low, with uncomfortable sensations, emotions, or thoughts, or maybe you’re not feeling much at all in this moment. I'm here to remind you that this is okay. This is a nervous system response - and we can maybe even thank our nervous system for trying to protect us, and just spend the next few minutes being curious about trying something new. 
  2. Ear Massage: Make a pincer shape with your thumb and pointer finger, and start to gently pull and uncurl your ears, starting from the tops of the ears, and slowly making your way all the way down to the ear lobes. And when you get to the bottom of your ear lobes give them a little extra love and attention here, just really squeezing and massaging the ear lobes. You might notice your ears start to feel a little warm and flushed, they might start to look red like mine, this is what we want - we're starting to bring some extra blood flow to the ears which starts to wake up our brain. Repeat this 2-3 more times. 
  3. Inner Ear Massage: Massage the ears again, this time using the thumb to focus in on the cymba conchae region of the ear, which is that little pocket that sits right between these two bits of cartilage at the middle of the ear, and then massaging down into the cavum conchae, which is this flat bit of cartilage that sits in the centre of the ear right before the actual ear canal. Just taking a few moments to gently press and massage in those folds of the ear with your thumbs and then continuing down into this point in the centre of the ear. Again repeating this 2-3 times. You might notice that you yawn, swallow or sigh. This is a sign that your brain is starting to wake up and the green zone of your nervous system is starting to come online.
  4. Jaw Massage: Now we're gonna spend some time relaxing and waking up the muscles of the jaw. You can do this however feels right for you. Perhaps placing all four fingertips along the top of the jaw and slowly pressing and massaging the jaw in circles, or maybe the thumbs and pointer fingers hook around the sides of the jaw and massage that tender muscle there. Notice if there are any subtle movements that would feel okay to do right now. Maybe you want to open up the mouth, stretch out the jaw, or you can even move the jaw from side to side as you inhale. This is actually a bit of a hack that can instantly bring out a yawn, which can help to wake up our brains even more.
  5. Notice if there's anything else that your body wants to do now. You might want to sip on some water to help hydrate the brain. Maybe you want to stretch your arms up or out above your head while you let some more yawns out, or stretch the rest of the body in some way. Sometimes it can feel nice to place the palm of your hand on the forehead, and maybe the other hand behind the base of your skull. Maybe you need to reorient yourself to the room or wherever you are, just taking a moment to look around you to the left, and to the right. 
  6. Once you’ve finished, notice if anything is different from just a few moments ago. Are there any shifts, however tiny or subtle, in how your body feels? See if you can put words to what you notice, remembering that whatever comes up is okay.

( i )      Massaging the ears increases blood flow to the brain, improves our cognition and thinking skills, and can boost our concentration at times when our mind might feel foggy or distracted. The cymba and cavum regions of the ear are connected to the auricular branch of the vagus nerve, so massaging these points can help to stimulate those nerves and bring our ventral vagal activation online.  

Massaging the jaw  helps us to release tension that often gets stored in those muscles. It also promotes yawning - which acts as a nervous system release, gets more oxygen flowing to the brain, and can boost alertness and concentration.