So one day a couple of years ago I was doing some manual soft tissue exploration of the muscles of my jaw and face (as you do), when I came across something very interesting. I had found a number of trigger points in my masseter and pterygoid muscles of the standard eye-wateringly painful type, when suddenly I found one slightly out of the ordinary (probably don't do this if you don't know what you're doing)..
This one referred sensation down into the mouth cavity and tongue region, but wasn't particularly painful. I waited and listened to the sensation.. slowed my breathing down to enhance the parasympathetic mode. When it was gone I got that nice spacious feeling you sometimes get after a trigger point release. There's only so much jaw work you can/should do at one time, so I decided to end my exploration for the day and grab a bite to eat..
Now, the interesting part. I normally have quite poor taste bud sense, and so was quite interested to note that when I ate straight after the jaw exploration, and release of that trigger point, I had a hugely improved taste sense. No joke it was at least double, if not triple the awareness of taste. Trigger point phenomena and referral zone effects are known to have a sensorimotor dampening effect, but this was quite something.
It really got me thinking - if that one trigger point (which I didn't know was there until I palpated it) could have such a dampening effect of one of the special senses, perhaps there were other latent trigger points lurking in my system doing all types of odd and unhealthy things..
The weighty Tomes that make up Travell & Simons' Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual makes an awesome and interesting read (especially when reading Chinese Medicine books at the same time), if you have about 4 years worth of time (the books are massive and quite dense to read) free. The anatomical illustrations in the books are works of art.