Stress is seems as one of the biggest instigators of TMJ pain, according to Chinese Medicine

Acupuncture aims to unblock the flow of Qi in and around the joint, in an attempt to help ease the pain

Temperomandibular disorders, commonly called TMJ, are characterised by pain in the jaw joint and surrounding tissues. It often limits movements within the joint, making small tasks like chewing, yawning or laughing problematic. TMJ can sometimes be associated with other painful syndromes such as arthritis . There is no definitive test for TMJ, but images such as x rays or MRIs may be helpful in ascertaining if there any structural abnormalities within the joint. Occasional clicking with the joint is common and does not necessarily mean that you have TMJ.

We like to hear of recent research regarding acupuncture and pain here at Ginseng.  The Acupuncture Evidence Project (1) is a research project that looked at acupuncture and it’s effectiveness over a broad range of conditions.  Amongst the 100+ conditions, it found that there was some promising evidence supporting the use of acupuncture to help with TMJ, or TMD as it is sometimes called.  Whilst there were some conflicting evidence within the research trials that the AEP looked at,  the possible positive effect has been published. The science and research continues of course, and we will publish any further firm conclusions here once they come to hand.

If you would like to ask any questions as to how you acupuncture may be able to help you with your current set of symptoms, then please do not hesitate to contact our clinic – 3357 3205.

We are conveniently located in Stafford  on Brisbane Northside, with free street parking available to all of our patients.


The research below reinforces what I see in the clinic – that acupuncture treatments for TMJ can be beneficial. We often see a fairly high ‘stress’ component when dealing with TMJ patients. Stress in  Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) will often tie up the Liver and Gallbladder energies – leading to impaired flow of Qi throughout the channels that traverse the body. By helping to soothe the energy of these two organs in TCM, the patient may  not only relief from the jaw pain, but feel a deeper level of relaxation which leaves feeling better within themselves.

Below are abstracts from two recent research findings on the positive use of acupuncture for TMJ or TMD ( temperomandibular disorders). Please feel free to contact us to discuss how acupuncture and massage may help your condition.

“Acupuncture for TMD

A systematic review by Swiss authors supports the use of acupuncture in the treatment of temporomandibular disorders (TMD). Seven RCTs (including 141 patients) met their inclusion criteria. Six studies compared acupuncture against penetrating sham acupuncture, non-penetrating sham acupuncture or sham laser acupuncture, whilst the remaining study tested laser acupuncture against sham laser acupuncture. Five of the studies were considered to be at low risk of bias. The results produced limited evidence that acupuncture is more effective than sham acupuncture in alleviating pain and masseter muscle tenderness in TMD. The authors recommend rigorous studies to establish the benefit of acupuncture for this condition. (Limited evidence that acupuncture is effective for treating temporomandibular disorders. Evid Based Dent. 2011;12(3):89).” viewed September 2012 )



“Acupuncture eases TMJ pain

A double-blind randomised controlled trial followed twenty-seven patients suffering from temporomandibular joint myofascial pain (TMJ/MP) who were assigned to receive either real acupuncture or a sham acupuncture intervention. Real acupuncture was found to have a greater influence than sham acupuncture on clinical outcome measures of TMJ/MP and changes in the majority of measures reached a level of statistical significance. (The efficacy of acupuncture in the treatment of temporomandibular joint myofascial pain: a randomised controlled trial. J Dent. 2007 Mar;35(3):259-67).” viewed September 2012 )


  1.  McDonald J, Janz S. The Acupuncture Evidence Project: A Comparative Literature Review (Revised Edition). Brisbane: Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine