Thursday, April 12, 2012

Facial Exercises — Anti-aging Regimen?

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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.

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(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?


10 comments:

  1. This is very interesting! Ah a new "remodelling" project for me!

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    1. I'd like to see you strip the wallpaper off that one!

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  2. Huh! I never thought this stuff really worked! I might have to invest in this soon. Starting to notice some drooping around the jaw myself.

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    1. I never thought it would work either, but our face is full of other muscles, just atrophying away.

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  3. And don't forget the yoga pose The Lion! This is really good for facial muscles, plus it's fun to do. I've just added it back into my routine. :)
    http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/1705

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    1. veuve, I wish I'd seen that image before I finished my post! I need to pick up my yoga practice again, and when I do, I am adding that one—given I type all day long, that would really be beneficial for my hands. My face, too. :^)

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  4. Light therapy has had so much success of late that the number of anti aging equipment using light is on the increase.

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  5. I have looked into this a couple times but never bit the bullet because from what I remember FlexEffect was pretty pricy and I was worried that like any exercise I wouldn't keep up with it. How much time do you spend on it?

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    1. If I recall it was around $100USD. I received a DVD with all of the exercises demonstrated by the creator's 36 year-old daughter (extremely detailed), a spiral notebook (brilliant design, making it easy to prop open) that illustrates each of the exercises and its variation, along with the muscle anatomy in the face, and a CD of just the audio, so you can copy it to your iPod.

      You also get a 30-day guarantee, which should be enough time to tell if it will work for you. I am fairly certain Dempeaux used this method, and she shows before and after pictures of her hooded eyes, but the program must be buried in one of her DIY skincare regimens. I looked for it yesterday, so I could link to it, but I couldn't find it.

      I spend 10-20 minutes 5-6 nights a week. After a week or so I no longer needed the DVD/book, much the same way I don't need to look up proper form for kickbacks, squats, Arnies, and deadlifts. :^) I can do the FlexEffect exercises while watching TV or reading blog articles online, but you will need two hands to do these exercises; that's what provides the resistance, so no doing while driving!

      Have you ever lifted weights? If so, you'll experience the same kind of muscle soreness, which was so bizarre to me. It wasn't the same "pain" after blowing up 100 balloons, but I was definitely aware of facial muscles that had always quietly hummed in the background before.

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  6. Thanks for such a nice information and great blog. I need to share with my friends.....

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