A new form of yoga is growing in popularity, in part because of its anti-ageing benefits. A new study from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago found that facial yoga reduced the appearance of ageing by almost three years.
Researchers instructed 27 women between the ages of 40 and 65 to complete a 20-week facial exercise program after two initial training sessions. For the first 10 weeks, the women performed 32 precise facial exercises for approximately 30 minutes a day. For the remaining 10 weeks, they performed the same exercises every second day.
Typical exercises were one minute long and included pursing the lips, smiling without revealing teeth and smiling while forcing the cheeks upwards.
Dermatologists compared photographs taken before the study with ones taken throughout and at the end. The results were positive, with the average age appearance of 50.8 years old dropping to 48.1. “The scientists looking at appearance changes found that the upper and lower cheeks were full after the study,” study author Dr. Murad Alam tells the Chicago Tribune.
“Patients themselves found even greater benefits, and noticed that 18 of the 20 areas and features of the face that were studied got better over the course of the study,” Alam adds. “In general, the appearance benefit was that the contour of the face became smoother, fuller and firmer.”
Despite the study’s positive results, Alam points out that facial yoga will unlikely have the same anti-ageing effects as invasive skin procedures. Until more research is done, he suggests using the exercise method as a way to enhance other anti-ageing tools.
Dr. Steve Xu, who teaches dermatology at Northwestern University, adds that the effects of facial yoga are not to be underestimated. “Strengthening facial muscles through exercise makes a lot of sense in helping reverse some of those changes, by allowing the muscles of the face to get bigger and provide more fullness to the overlying skin,” he says.