If you have to wear a mask for long hours – clinicians, movement teachers, or any other person-facing jobs – you may have found yourself doing all sorts of weird facial contortions to try and make more room under that mask.
When we first reopened the clinic and I had to wear a heavy duty mask for several hours at a time, I kept doing a crazy underbite to take the pressure off the back of my ears without even realizing it. (I’m still pretty convinced that I have behind-the-ear-mask-strap-calluses.)
However, the biggest thing you may have noticed is that you have turned into a Mouth Breather (dun dun duuunnnnn).
And now that you’ve acquired this habit, you may be Mouth Breathing all the time (or is that just me, staring at the TV at the end of a long day with my mouth hanging open…?).
While it may seem like a better way to get more air in while masked up, mouth breathing takes us out of the ideal resting position for the mandible (lower jaw), tongue, and lips.
It can also create tension in the masseter (your big chewing face muscle) and its friends, which can lead to headaches, neck pain, jaw pain, and dehydration, to name a few.
So, what’s a Mouth Breather to do? Well, a few things:
1) Learn and practice RMF (Resting Mouth Face)
2) Try some masseter massage
3) For the truly experimental – try taping your mouth closed with medical tape while sleeping to avoid DOMBF (Drooling Open Mouth Breathing Face)
Watch the video below to see them in action – and if you’ve got your own tips for avoiding mouth breathing, let me know in the comments!