By Mary Ann Wilson, RN
Facial Exercises can help give a more youthful appearance to the skin of the face by increasing the circulation to the tissues and toning the muscles of expression that attach to the skin. They can also strengthen the functional muscles of the face that control the eye, tongue, and jaw movements. Facial exercises can help us learn how to relax the muscles of the face, a place where tension may be carried. Facial exercises are also used for people that have TMJ (temporomandibular–or jaw–joint) problems, following facial paralysis due to a stroke, or to counteract the rigidity that develops in the facial muscles of people with Parkinson’s disease.
Begin sitting with good posture. Posture is important whether you are exercising your face or your toes. Neck alignment is particularly important when doing facial exercises. Lengthen the neck. Touch the chin and pull the chin back and away from your hand. Keep the chin level and parallel with the floor. Perform each exercise slowly and thoughtfully. Rest briefly after each exercise.
If you have problems with your jaw joint, follow your health care professional’s restrictions (i.e. some TMJ patients should not open their mouth fully). If you wear contact lenses, you may want to take them out when doing facial exercises.
Facial Exercise #1
1. Open your eyes as slowly and as wide as you can. The expression should be one of surprise. Add a smile and hold for three counts. Relax your mouth and face. Close your eyes. Take a deep breath in and out. Repeat exercise.
Facial Exercise #2
2. With your mouth closed and teeth slightly apart, touch your tongue to the inside of your right cheek and then touch your tongue to the inside of your left cheek. Relax.
Facial Exercise #3
3. Next, open your mouth wide. Stick your tongue out as far as you can and touch the right corner of your mouth and beyond. Reach out as far as you can.
Now reach out and touch your tongue to the left corner of your mouth and beyond. Relax face and mouth. Inhale and exhale deeply. Repeat exercise.
Facial Exercise #4
4. With your mouth closed, press your lips tightly together. Pretend someone is trying to get you to tell a secret but your lips are sealed. Now open mouth as wide as possible. Relax face and mouth. Inhale and exhale. Repeat exercise. This time as you press lips together, squeeze your eyelids tightly together. Now open mouth as wide as possible. Relax face and mouth. Inhale and exhale. Repeat exercise from the beginning.
Facial Exercise #5
5. Suck in the sides of your cheeks. Release. With lips lightly touching together, blow up cheeks. Release. Relax face and mouth. Inhale and exhale. Repeat exercise.
Facial Exercise #6
6. Pucker up as though you are about to kiss someone. Exaggerate the pucker. Now, relax mouth. With lips together, suck the lips inward, tucking them under the teeth. Relax face and mouth. Inhale and exhale. Repeat exercise.
Facial Exercise #7
7. With mouth and face relaxed, place the tip of the tongue very lightly just behind the teeth at the roof of the mouth. Lips should be slightly closed. Inhale. As you exhale, allow the tongue to drop to the floor of the mouth. The lips should part slightly to allow the breath to leave through the mouth. Relax and breathe naturally. Gently close eyes for a few seconds. Open eyes for a few seconds. Repeat exercise.
Facial Exercise #8
8. Open mouth wide enough to stick tongue straight out. Now, try to touch the tip of the nose with your tongue. Bring tongue back into mouth. Open mouth wide a second time and stick the tongue straight out. Curl tongue down as far as you can and try to touch the bottom of your chin. Bring tongue back into mouth. Relax face. Inhale and exhale. Repeat exercise.
Facial Exercise #9
9. Open mouth and stick tongue out to touch the outside of the upper lip. Now, circle the tongue around the mouth, trying to touch the outside edge of the mouth. Make a full circle in one direction and then the other direction. Bring tongue back into mouth and relax face and mouth. Inhale and exhale. Repeat exercise.
Facial Exercise #10
10. Open mouth and stick tongue out as far as you can. Now, wiggle it side to side. Bring tongue back into mouth. Say A-E-I-O-U. Exaggerate each mouth movement for every letter and hold each one for a count of three. Put extra emphasis on the O and U. Now, relax your face, close your eyes, and smile. Inhale and exhale deeply. Open your eyes. Repeat exercise.