Cassie Milam’s dentist told her that without a night guard she ran the risk of grinding her teeth to a pulp. While the guard prevented damage from her TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorders), they didn’t alleviate the tension or pain in her jaw. But the 37-year-old mother of four learned about a new, sort of bizarre facial massage that did the trick.
Milam found a spa in Houston where an esthetician would massage her mouth from the inside out.
Buccal massages, popularized by the likes of Jennifer Lopez and Meghan Markle, are also getting a lot of attention on TikTok where influencers share videos of themselves getting the treatment or promote a DIY method promising everything from pain relief to anti-aging effects and face sculpting over time.
Milam now goes monthly to ease her jaw tension.
But how does buccal massage work and where can you get one done professionally? These experts explain.
The buccal massage experience
The first time Milam got her massage, she was a bit taken back by the sensation. She knew the treatment would involve having hands in her mouth, but she wasn’t prepared for how that felt.
“At first I was like what do I do with my tongue? What if I get drooly? But it just feels so good,” Milam says. “Even without jaw pain, with the tension you hold in your cheeks and face, it’s the greatest thing.”
On top of it, her dentist approves. He sent Milam home with a mouth guard but said that since the stress causing her teeth grinding (likely the result of life as a mom of four) isn’t going to subside soon, massages might be a good alternative.
“I’m trying to avoid injectables for as long as possible and I feel like what she does has helped so much for my fine lines and the lymphatic massage has made my jawline slimmer,” Milam said.
Milam’s esthetician, Katia Moreno, owner of Katia’s European Spa in Houston, Texas, began with a facial cleansing and a lymphatic drainage massage all done with medical grade gloves before entering the mouth for the full buccal massage.
Moreno uses non-comedogenic oils which allow her hands to glide over the skin without clogging pores. After the massage, she cleanses the skin a second time and introduces a hot towel and enzymes for added treatments if requested by the client.
Moreno, who dubs herself a buccal massage expert on Instagram, put in nearly 80 hours of training in Ukraine to learn all about lymphatic draining and facial…
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