Freedom from jaw pain is possible.

I employ the latest methods of gentle, soft tissue manipulation to help alleviate TMJ dysfunction and orofacial pain, and avoid medications or surgery.

TMJD pain management without the pain. That's my goal. By taking my time and allowing the muscle tissue to tell me how deep to go, I take a gentle approach to neuromuscular therapy that is both effective and relatively painless.

If you are suffering from jaw pain, clicking or locking, ear pain or ringing in the ears, sinus pressure or pain, or headaches—even if those symptoms seem unrelated to TMJD—let me show you how my approach to TMJ dysfunction can help alleviate these symptoms and bring you relief. Give me a call and we can discuss your situation and determine what is an appropriate course of action. 1 805 252 8617.

Steve Shepard, LMT
CAMTC #78790

Located in La Playa Pilates,
the Las Aves Office Complex

1809 E Cabrillo Blvd #A
Montecito, CA 93108
+1 805 252 8617

Steve Shepard Massage Therapist

TMJ dysfunction is not a single problem,
nor is there a single cause or treatment


TMJ literally refers to the joint of the jaw (Temporo-Mandibular Joint)but has come to be recognized as short hand for jaw pain and other problems. TMD or TMJD (Temporo-Mandibular Joint Dysfunction) is probably more accurate. But whatever you call it, the issues it comes with can be numerous and debilitating: Everything from pain opening your mouth, to vertigo and dizziness, ringing in your ears (tinnitus, migraine like headaches, and more. When other head, face, and mouth issues are involved, it is sometimes referred to as orofacial pain.


TMJ dysfunction can be much more than just jaw problems


The causes of TMJ dysfunction and orofacial pain

Where do I start? There are as many causes as there are things that can go wrong with the human body. Stress, emotional issues, trauma, postural issues, sleep position, clenching and grinding teeth, dental work. This is what makes it difficult for many to treat TMJ dysfunction.

One of my clients developed TMJD after a hysterectomy. She had trouble breathing with her diaphragm which led to her breathing with her chest. This causes the neck muscles to pull her rib cage up, putting stress on her neck and jaw muscles. See how it can snowball?

Treatment Options

Treatment options for TMJD are many, but quite often people are told, 

"You’re just going to have to live with it..."

Not very comforting, but many healthcare practitioners aren't very well equipped to deal with a catch-all diagnosis like TMJ dysfunction.

There are a number of options for treating TMJD and orofacial pain: Everything from the previously mentioned approach, to mouth guards, surgery, and pain medication. My clients have found these methods relatively ineffective over the long term.

My gentle approach to muscle tissue manipulation, along with self-care techniques I can show you, has worked very well for me and my clients and believe will work for you as well.

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I take a modern, integrative
approach to TMJD therapy.


Focused, integrative bodywork can be very effective in managing the pain and discomfort of TMJD. By integrating deep tissue, trigger point, craniosacral and other techniques, I have developed a method of gentle manipulation of the jaw and related muscles to help correct jaw alignment, muscle constriction, and help alleviate pain. By integrating these neuromuscular therapy techniques with exercises you can do at home, jaw pain, clicking, and headaches can be greatly reduced and often eliminated.

Full Body Approach

Problems with the temporomandibular joint are rarely isolated to the jaw itself. Postural deviations, injury compensation, and other issues elsewhere in the body can contribute to this dysfunction. This is why I start by assessing your posture - beginning with hips - when dealing with TMJ issues. I make sure your hips aren’t over-rotated forward or back and that they are level horizontally. If I find issues here, I use trigger point, deep tissue and other modalities to correct the problem if possible. Then I move to your shoulders and neck. Shoulder and neck muscles often have an impact on your jaw. I evaluate your shoulders and neck and make adjustments as needed.

Focused Jaw Muscle Work

Work on the jaw includes both external and intra-oral manipulation. This initially targets the muscles around your jaw. Your shoulder and neck muscles might also require attention. And incorporating craniosacral work on the sphenoid and other bones around the jaw can help realign your jaw as well.

Self Care Techniques

Finally, I will teach you self-care exercises to help maintain the progress we’ve made during your session. And I will follow up with you a couple days after treatment to see how things are progressing, assess what kind of improvement you feel in jaw function, and determine if additional sessions are needed.

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What my clients are saying


Steve is a TMJ wizard! After 2 sessions with him my jaw has been relaxed for the last month. I haven't been night clenching and, with the self-massage techniques he taught me, have been able to take care of any jaw tightness early! His studio is clean, professional and comfortable and he is very professional too. I also have some mild tinnitus which I think is partially to do with tight jaw/neck muscles as I got considerate relief after my massage with a great reduction in the white noise I hear. Knowing this has helped me view my tinnitus as a warning sign that I am stressed and my muscles are tight, and that information is so valuable to me. Thank you Steve.
Maddie G.

I have had TMJ issues for about a decade, including clenching and ringing in my ears for most of that time. I have seen doctors and dentists with only temporary relief. Steve was amazing. Very up-to-date on the subject and explained everything very thoroughly. His work is gentle but very effective. After 2 sessions with him, the tinnitus is gone and I am clenching much less!
Rachal F.

First, let me say that I am EXTREMELY picky about choosing massage therapists, since I am quite sensitive to energy. Steve Shepard of Modern Bodywork met and exceeded all my high standards... He also demonstrated his advanced training in TMJ conditions, by relaxing my jaw joint from its mild, but annoying “clicking” on one side; this is a specialty area where Steve seemed particularly knowledgeable. I appreciated his professionalism, respectfulness and warmth...and will definitely be back for more in the future, next time I visit Santa Barbara! I recommend him without hesitation.
Teri B.


Adjacent to East Beach
and Andree Clark Bird Refuge


Nestled in the beautiful and serene Las Aves office complex in Montecito across from the picturesque Andree Clark Bird Refuge not far from Santa Barbara’s East Beach. Modern Bodywork is located inside La Playa Pilates: The premiere Pilates studio in the Santa Barbara/Montecito area.

Andree Clark Bird Refuge
La Playa Pilates

A treatment space like no other


Modern Bodywork provides one of the coolest massage settings anywhere. Vintage mid-century furnishings and decor give the space a vibe you won’t find anywhere else. Add a generously padded stationary massage table and face cradle, along with choice of music and you will find it the perfect place to relax, refresh and restore yourself.