(Dental work and dental appliances can have an enormous impact on one's health and well-being. This revised article, with photographs, illustrates the connection.)
In 1975, Dr. George Goodheart mentioned a dentist, Dr. Willie May of Albuquerque, New Mexico who was achieving cures for many systemic diseases. I decided to study with him.
I remember him well: a wiry man, mercurial, always active. Filled with passion and enthusiasm. Utterly, utterly dedicated to his work. And always smiling.
His program lasted a week. The patients, usually about a dozen, would fly in from all over the country on the Sunday and come to his little office on Monday morning. Over the next few hours he would take wax impressions. At lunch time he made his appliances from them and then fitted them in the afternoon. The rest of the week would be spent adjusting the appliance for the patients and re-adjusting (as they continued to relax) and instructing them on how to do it themselves back at home.
Melanie was a very quiet, retiring woman. When she walked into the room you would hardly notice her. She could be quite a presence when she wanted to, but generally she chose to sit quietly on the side and keep her distance from people. It was as if there were, as she wistfully admitted, a shell around her.
She had had little sexual experience in her life, and those experiences Melanie had had were fairly traumatic. It had been very difficult for her to summon up the courage to make love in the first place, and after she had been hurt by that relationship, it became even more difficult for her to try to get close to a man, let alone make love. When I looked at her, I could almost visualize her protected from the world in her shell, which I suppose corresponds with what Wilhelm Reich called body armor.
Karen was breast feeding her first baby, Anne, who was just a month old. We discovered that the baby was disappointed (stomach meridian). I see so many people who are disappointed, and this may be where it begins, back at the first few weeks of life and back to breast feeding.
In his book, Myofunctional Therapy in Dental Practice, Daniel Garliner cites Richard Applebaum’s paper on breast feeding—a paper of unlimited significance. Applebaum gives very explicit instructions on how the baby should be supported while at the breast in order to ensure the best sucking.
Perhaps the first thing that happens when we are confronted with any sort of stress is that we jam our breath. We stop breathing. Watch the dental patient walk in the office and see the dental chair. Immediately his breathing will jam. He will have what we call a “respiratory stumble.”
I saw a woman who was complaining of great difficulty with her thinking. She was aware that she was not able to think as clearly as she once could. We also found that she had quite a marked dyslexia. It was then that I discovered she was wearing a dental appliance that had metal crossing her midline.
I once saw three students who were patients of three different dentists, all highly skilled. These students each had a different type of acrylic appliance. They had been checked by their respective dentists, and all the appliances had been found to be of great benefit. In each case, however, we discovered that the student was allergic to the acrylic and thus was being harmed at the same time as he was being helped.
Virtually every dentist is stressed by the statement that he likes his patients. If I ask a dentist to name the patients he saw the day before, he usually has difficulty remembering even one. But he can remember their mouths.
I once gave a seminar for a dental society and there, as with nearly every other dental society, we found the following: When the dentists thought of dentistry, nearly all of them suffered a lowering of their Life Energy, indicating the stress of their profession and the fact that they are ill at ease with their work.
There is a problem I have found with violinists involved with bowing at the tip, which is present at a deeper level than the problems I have mentioned. It is found in virtually every violinist, even those who maintain the convex wrist angle. As strange as it may seem, this will be corrected if the violinist places the tip of his tongue in the normal resting position – that is, up against the roof of the mouth with the tip touching the rugae, which are behind the upper incisors.
It has been said that muscles have memories. And no muscles have more memories than the external muscles that control the tongue. Every negative emotion that has afflicted us throughout our lives, it seems, is held in those muscles – every cry of anguish, every sob of sorrow, every negative statement of anger, of resentment, of hurt.