This Facial Claims to Ease Chronic TMJ Pain; Here’s My Honest Review

Advice

Yes, the facial involves having someone stick their fingers in your mouth.

I’ve dealt with varying levels of TMJ pain and tension headaches over the past couple decades, and more recently, the clear aligners I’ve been wearing to straighten my teeth caused a pretty significant flare up.

While I have plenty of tools in my toolbox that I can pull out — mobility gadgets, self-massagers, ice-packs, CBD products, doctors — I’m still always on the hunt for new pain relief and pain management techniques. So when I saw a friend post on Instagram about the Radical Radiance Regime (RRR) facial at SousLaFace, my ears (eyes?) immediately perked up. Just watching the process felt relaxing, so I knew that it was something I had to experience for myself. I reached out, booked an appointment, and impatiently waited for the day to come.

The company started in Toronto and, as founder Amanda Jeppesen began to do pop-up events in Los Angeles, “it kind of spiraled from there,” SousLaFace LA partner Cece King tells POPSUGAR. The demand was ever-increasing and they realized “this is kind of a gap in the market,” King says. No one else was “specifically focusing on the teeth grinding, the TMJ, combined with the lymphatic drainage and the lifting and sculpting aspect.” So in January 2023, they officially opened a full-time business in Los Angeles.

When I pulled up on the day of my appointment, I was surprised to find out that instead of a typical treatment office, SousLaFace LA is based out of a cute bungalow in a quiet West Hollywood neighborhood. I walked past a small but picturesque pool in the backyard and into an open-concept kitchen and living room that they use as their front office and lounge area. King welcomed me, presented me with a robe to change into, and introduced me to my aesthetician, Giselle.

What the RRR Facial Is

@popsugarwellness

The Radical Radiance Regime (RRR) facial is unique to @Sous La Face, which has 1 Los Angeles location and 2 Ontario locations. The goal is to stimulate and relax the facial muscles while also rejuvenating the skin. If you suffer from any kind of jaw or neck pain — or, TBH, just want to treat yourself to some self-care — we recommend the splurge. #FacialMassage #MouthMassage #LymphaticDrainage #TMJDisorder #NonsurgicalFaceLift

♬ Chillest in the Room – L.Dre

SousLaFace’s signature RRR Facial, created by Jeppesen, involves a combination of various techniques to stimulate the facial muscles while also rejuvenating the skin.

We started with Giselle performing some manual stretches on my neck, a double cleanse on my face using 111Skin Vitamin C Cleanser and Cosmedix Pure Enzyme Exfoliating Mask, and about 10 minutes of lymphatic massage of my face, neck, and chest.

Then, Giselle brought out a metal wand for some reflexology — it looked underwhelming, but I had no idea just how relaxing this tiny tool could really be. I felt all the muscles in my face melt as she used it; she nearly put me to sleep.

This tiny wand was shockingly effective.

According to Giselle, this process breaks down “the adhesions that form in between the muscle and the fascia that create these blockages that stop our blood from flowing seamlessly through our face”. In videos of the treatment, the intensely hands-on buccal massage (which is on deck after another 10-15 minutes of standard massage) often seems like the star of the show — which makes sense, considering it involves a person vigorously massaging your face, from the inside of your mouth out. But surprisingly, I found the reflexology portion to be the true unsung hero.

That’s not to diminish the champion that is the buccal massage, though. Full disclosure, I’ve had this done before by a musculoskeletal therapist (remember the two decades of TMJ pain?) and find it to be incredibly effective, so I was looking forward to this portion of the treatment. Yes, it’s a little weird at first to feel latex-wrapped fingers push and pull against my face from inside my mouth. But soon enough, I was much more focused on just how good it felt to have someone massaging my hugely tense and often overlooked masseter and depressor muscles, which surround the jaw.

Next, we moved on to some microcurrent stimulation, which feels as weird as it looks. If you are someone with sensitive teeth — which I am — it may cause some discomfort as it passes over your upper and lower lip areas — which it did. However, Giselle informed me that I could put my tongue in the way to lessen the discomfort and that definitely helped. In the other areas, it felt just like pins and needles with some involuntary muscle twitching. While I didn’t feel any immediate relief, as someone who’s used e-stim for muscle recovery, I knew the potential benefits of this process and when Giselle let me compare my results after doing only half my face, I did notice a decrease in puffiness.

We finished up with a skincare sequence of 111SKIN Antioxidant Energising Essence, 111SKIN Y2 Theorem Serum, a brightening eye gel, Cosmedix Microbiome Boosting Hydrating Moisturizer, SPF, and lip moisturizer — then Giselle let me admire my results.

What I Like About the RRR Facial

My skin was glowing and though I was initially skeptical about any aesthetic results, my face did seem more snatched than when I walked in the door an hour earlier. I left the treatment feeling so confident despite being makeup free, and that pleasantly carried into the subsequent days.

Immediately after the facial, already loving the effects.

That was all good and well, but what I was really there for was the pain relief — and this treatment delivered. My jaw felt pain-free for the first time in weeks and the constant tension in my head and neck that I was accustomed to was almost nonexistent.

Not only was I free of pain and able to get better sleep that night, but the relief lasted for the following week. It gradually crept back up on me, as it always does, but alleviating the constant discomfort provided me with a great ability to relax and manage it further at home.

What’s Worth Noting About the RRR Facial

While the RRR facial was uncomfortable at points, it was worth it for the resulting relief in my chronic pain — but people should take their pain tolerance levels into account. People with skin sensitivities may also want to check in about what products the facialist is using on their skin.

The only major warning I received both before booking and at my appointment, was to not get this treatment within two to four weeks of any Botox or filler injections, since either the reflexology or microcurrent could potentially displace those solutions.

Is the RRR Facial Worth the Splurge?

The RRR facial is an elaborate protocol, and Jeppesen trains the SousLaFace technicians to execute it exactly the same way, every time. That means no matter who you see, or what SousLaFace location you visit, the RRR facial remains the same. That said, it is a bit pricey, starting at $299 for the standard facial. You also have the option for add-ons like oxygen infusion, lightstim, or opt for an in-home treatment.

While I won’t be booking this treatment once a week, or even once a month, it’s absolutely worth the cost if you are a chronic pain sufferer or just someone looking to splurge on a treat for yourself, either before a big event or just because.

I’ll definitely be back (and definitely be asking for gift cards for Christmas — looking at you, Mom).

SousLaFace also offers a RRR Body and after the stunning facial experience I had, I won’t be able to rest until I try them both.

Additional Details

  • Location: Unfortunately, right now, SousLaFace has only three locations, one in the US (in West Hollywood, California) and two in Canada (in Toronto and Muskoka, Ontario). If you don’t live nearby, you won’t be able to get this exact treatment — but if it’s TMJ pain relief you’re after, consider looking for a nearby massage practice that performs buccal massage instead.
  • Length: The facial is a 60-minute treatment and completely non-invasive, so there’s no downtime afterward.

Rating

I want to give this treatment 5 out of 5 stars because it really was that good (I’m still dreaming of it weeks later), but considering the price point and the sensitivity I experienced during the microcurrent, I think I’ll have to knock off half a point. My rating is 4.5 stars, final answer.

Image Source: Courtesy of Sous La Face LA; Courtesy of Jordan Shalhoub

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