Intraoral Hold: Hard palate
Intraoral holds have a long history of being used successfully in cranial work. They can offer precision when relating to the 'spacer' bones between the maxilla and sphenoid. There is a lot of jaw available through external contacts so many practitioners use them only rarely. However intraoral holds can be very useful to give another route in to working with persistent patterns of experience in the facial complex. They are a good tool in your skills set as practitioner, but need lots of practice to become familiar and easy to use.
Tuning into the hard palate with the first tow fingers running along the teeth of the upper jaw is often the simplest hold.
Intraoral Hold: Vomer and Ethmoid
This hold is fantastic for supporting space between the maxilla and the sphenoid. The system often seeks space inferior and anterior, along the line of the vomer.
Negotiating intraoral holds
- Explain the process of intraoral work and why you think it might be useful. Make sure you know your anatomy so you can be clear on what you are trying to perceive.
- Seek genuine permission. There is a lot you can do from external maxilla and mandible holds. Do you really need to put your fingers in their mouth?
- Set up a hand signal, your client will not be able to talk. Yes, Ok, No - often a simple thumbs up, hover, thumbs down is fine. Remember to work with your eyes open and keep checking the hand signals.
- Use finger cots or gloves. Check for latex allergies. Sometimes fingers wrapped in paper towels can work.
- Go slowly, make sure you are comfortable. Intraoral holds often involve the practitioner standing or using lots of cushions. Maybe learn to work with a relatively uncomfortable position for short 5 min bursts only.
- Ask the client to open their mouth, make contact, ask the client to close their jaw so the lower jaw is lightly touching you fingers.
- Do not spend too long in the mouth. Intraoral work should not be the first contact you make in a session so safety, resources, holistic shift should ideally have already been negotiated. Allow your precise contact to support a shift in the pattern of experience. Often intraoral contacts are only needed for 5 to 10 mins.