Among the traditional Chinese medical practices that are coming into their own as part of US medicine is qigong (sometimes chi kung). This combination of slow exercises and mindfulness has proven effective against some related medical conditions, and could prove effective in treating TMJ, although it has yet to be tested.
Qigong has roots in martial arts, medicine, and spiritualism. It has many different forms, but probably the most commonly known is Tai Chi, which is a slow form. Many of the forms of qigong are quite vigorous, but all forms combine specific physical postures with breathing exercises and mental focus exercises.
Limited Proven Effectiveness of Qigong
Although many critics dismiss the effectiveness of traditional Chinese medical practices, qigong has proven its effectiveness in clinical trials for conditions related to TMJ. In a 2010 trial, 80 tinnitus patients were randomly assigned to either qigong treatment or a waiting list for five weeks. Participants were assessed right after treatment, and one and three months following treatment. Patients practicing qigong reported significant improvements in their tinnitus at all follow-ups.
Another trial compared qigong to a standard exercise therapy for neck pain. This trial found that after one year, the two treatments were equally effective.
Although no-one has specifically studied the effect of qigong on TMJ, these trials suggest that it might be a useful approach for some people. It falls into the category of home remedies that you might consider before seeking medical attention for your TMJ. Qigong is unlikely to have a negative impact on your TMJ, and it might be positive, especially if stress is a component of your dysfunction.
If you have tried at-home treatments unsuccessfully and are looking for effective relief from TMJ, please call (803) 781-9090 for an appointment with a Columbia, SC TMJ dentist at Smile Columbia Dentistry.