There's been a bit of a buzz going around about the Tanaka facial massage for draining the lymph nodes (banishing face puffiness) and firming facial muscles.
The concept of facial exercise is certainly not new. I first learned about it from my mother, who showed me how she keeps the skin under her chin firm. Her secret beauty weapon is an exercise where you extend and push your lower teeth up to your nose (pretend you're a Lhasa Apso with its undershot jaw) and hold for 10 seconds, repeating 10 times.
Even still, part of me always assumed that pulling on my skin would cause more sagging and wrinkling. We're told we need to apply eye cream with the pads of our ring fingers because that finger has the least strength, and god forbid we stretch that delicate eye tissue; our lids might fall off.
But there was no denying my mother's tight chin. I took a stronger interest about a year ago when I began to notice changes in my face and realized I was going to be a sagger, not a sinker. Stupid hormones.
Given how transformative weight-bearing exercise can be on our bodies, why not our faces? What makes those muscles any different? Those muscles also sit directly beneath the skin, so it stands to reason that, like triceps presses, small, repetitive motions (reps) done several times (sets) could have a big impact. Presumably, if done consistently and correctly, the expansion and contraction of muscles will stimulate collagen/elastin and can dramatically improve the texture of our skin.
But what is "correct" form? I stumbled across the FlexEffect Facialbuilding® method, read its claims, looked at before-and-after photos with a heavy dose of skepticism, and watched some videos. I appreciated that the program was designed and developed by a former bodybuilder. If anyone knew how to transform muscle, she did. I also have a history of weight lifting. Intrigued, I bought the program.
|(source) Note that there are several more links to photos at the bottom of the linked page|
I have been using FlexEffect Facialbuilding exercises consistently for the past month, and it is working. One thing I was not prepared for, however, was muscle soreness. For the first week, my face hurt, the same way my quads would hurt after heavy squats and lunges! Let's just say that there are muscles in my face I had previously been oblivious to.
Over the 45 days or so that I have been using the FlexEffect program, my weight has not changed appreciably, but my face was already quite full when I started, and I am very happy to report that the first signs of jowls have already been sucked back into my jawline. My eyelid creases are also tighter, and for the first time in my life, my round face looks like it has cheekbones.
I do my regimen at night. Even though I'd prefer to "drain" my face in the morning, I found that all that facial manipulation left my skin red (from increased blood flow) for an appreciable amount of time, but the exercises themselves have not worsened my mild Rosacea.
Here's a small intro to the FlexEffect method:
Here's are three videos of the Tanaka facial massage, which is similar but uses less resistance than the FlexEffect method:
And finally, here's a link to a PDF of Suqqu's Gankin massage. Note that the PDF prints landscape. If you have problems printing it (part of it falls off the page), make sure that the Page Scaling drop-down box says "Shrink to Printable Area."
Bottom line: It works for me. I like that I can use an anti-aging regimen that addresses the issue at the source, rather than slapping a treatment or cosmetic on top.
What do you think? If you could turn back the hands of time with 20 minutes a day of facial exercises would you do it? Do you think facial exercises can help prevent sagging skin?