Yoga face-toning might compete with fillers and facelifts

Yoga teacher Annelise Hagen demonstrates a facial muscle stretch that is a part of her face intensive yoga teachings in New York August 31 2007.   REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

teacher Annelise Hagen demonstrates a facial muscle stretch that
is a part of her face intensive yoga teachings in New

By Ronnie Cohen

(Reuters Health) – – To his toolbox of Botox, fillers and plastic
surgery, cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Murad Alam has added a new,
low-cost, noninvasive anti-aging treatment: facial yoga.

Dermatologists measured improvements in the appearance of the
faces of a small group of middle-age women after they did half an
hour of daily face-toning exercises for eight weeks, followed by
alternate-day exercises for another 12 weeks.

The results surprised lead author Alam, vice chair and professor
of dermatology at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine in

“In fact, the results were stronger than I expected,” he said in
a phone interview. “It’s really a win-win for patients.”

Participants included 27 women between ages 40 and 65, though
only 16 completed the full course. It began with two 90-minute
muscle resistant facial exercise-training sessions led by
co-author Gary Sikorski of Happy Face Yoga in Providence, Rhode

Participants learned to perform cheek pushups and eye-bag
removers, among other exercises. Then they practiced at home.

Dermatologists looking at unmarked before-and-after photos saw
improvements in upper cheek and lower cheek fullness, and they
estimated the average age of women who stuck with the program as
significantly younger at the end than at the start. The average
estimated age dropped almost three years, from nearly 51 years to
48 years.

Participants also rated themselves as more satisfied with the
appearance of their faces at the study’s end, Alam and colleagues
reported in JAMA Dermatology.

“Now there is some evidence that facial exercises may improve
facial appearance and reduce some visible signs of aging,” Alam
said. “Assuming the findings are confirmed in a larger study,
individuals now have a low-cost, non-toxic way for looking
younger or to augment other cosmetic or anti-aging treatments
they may be seeking.”

The exercises enlarge and strengthen facial muscles to firm and
tone the face, giving it a younger appearance, he said.

Happy Face sells instructional worksheets – promising smoother
skin, firmed cheeks and raised eyelids – for $19.95. DVDs cost
$24.95. But not all dermatologists are rushing to promote the
videos or the exercises.

Dr. John Chi, a plastic surgeon and professor at the Washington
University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri, said the
study raises more questions than it answers.

“The jury is still out on whether or not facial yoga is effective
in reversing the signs of aging,” he said in an email.

Chi, who was not involved with the study, said he would recommend
facial yoga to patients who found it relaxing and enjoyable but
not for the purpose of facial rejuvenation.

“While the premise of facial exercises to improve the facial
appearance or reverse signs of aging is an appealing one, there
is little evidence to suggest that there is any benefit in this
regard,” he said.

Chi said facial yoga had not been rigorously examined in
peer-reviewed scientific studies. Asked if procedures such as
facelifts, Botox and fillers had been rigorously examined in
peer-reviewed studies, he replied: “Great question. Attempts to
do so have been made in the scientific literature with variable
levels of scientific rigor.”

Alam agrees that his study raises additional research questions,
such as whether the exercises would work for men and how much
time people need to commit to doing the exercises for them to be
optimally effective. He would like to see a larger study.

SOURCE: JAMA Dermatology, online January 3,

Source: Health – Google News

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