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Yoga Face-toning May Compete With Fillers, Face-lifts

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

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Yoga face toning is an effective way of reducing the signs of ageing. VOA
  • Yoga face toning may take over botox and face lifting procedures.
  • 27 participants noted changes in their faces after weeks of this experiment.
  • It is still a matter of discussion if this method can reverse ageing or not.

In his toolbox of Botox, fillers and plastic surgery, cosmetic dermatologist Dr Murad Alam has added a new, low-cost, noninvasive anti-ageing treatment: facial yoga.

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

Facial exercises are healthier than surgeries. Pixabay
Facial exercises are healthier than surgeries. Pixabay

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

“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 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 Island.

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

Improvements noted

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.

Face yoga is a healthier substitute to surgical procedures. Pixabay
Face yoga is a healthier substitute for surgical procedures. Pixabay

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 ageing,” Alam said. “Assuming the findings are confirmed in a larger study, individuals now have a low-cost, non-toxic way of looking younger or augmenting other cosmetic or anti-ageing 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.

Some skepticism

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 ageing,” 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 ageing 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 whether procedures such as face-lifts, 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 rigour.”

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. VOA

Next Story

Yoga as Good as Aerobic Exercise for Super Brain Health

Yoga helps people with or without anxiety disorders manage their stress

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Yoga
Yoga can lower your back pain and treat your insomnia as well. Pixabay

If you do not like or cannot perform aerobic exercise for some reason, try yoga to improve brain health as scientists led by Indian-origin Neha Gothe have found evidence that yoga enhances many of the same brain structures and functions that benefit from aerobic exercise.

The findings are based on a review focused on 11 studies of the relationship between yoga practice and brain health.

Five of the studies engaged individuals with no background in yoga practice in one or more yoga sessions per week over a period of 10-24 weeks, comparing brain health at the beginning and end of the intervention.

The other studies measured brain differences between individuals who regularly practice yoga and those who don’t.

Each of the studies used brain-imaging techniques such as MRI and all involved Hatha yoga, which includes body movements, meditation and breathing exercises, said the team from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

“From these 11 studies, we identified some brain regions that consistently come up, and they are surprisingly not very different from what we see with exercise research,” said Gothe, University of Illinois kinesiology and community health professor Neha who led the research with Wayne State University psychology professor Jessica Damoiseaux.

“For example, we see increases in the volume of the hippocampus with yoga practice,” she added.

Many studies looking at the brain effects of aerobic exercise have shown a similar increase in hippocampus size over time.

Space object, Human Being, Deep Meditation
As soon as you start doing asanas, you’ll know what the fuss is all about! Pixabay

The hippocampus is involved in memory processing and is known to shrink with age.

“It is also the structure that is first affected in dementia and Alzheimer’s disease,” said Gothe in a paper published in the journal Brain Plasticity.

Though many of the studies are exploratory and not conclusive, the research points to other important brain changes associated with regular yoga practice, Damoiseaux said.

The amygdala, a brain structure that contributes to emotional regulation, tends to be larger in yoga practitioners than in their peers who do not practice yoga.

The prefrontal cortex, cingulate cortex and brain networks such as the default mode network also tend to be larger or more efficient in those who regularly practice yoga.

“The prefrontal cortex, a brain region just behind the forehead, is essential to planning, decision-making, multitasking, thinking about your options and picking the right option,” Damoiseaux noted.

“The default mode network is a set of brain regions involved in thinking about the self, planning and memory”.

The studies also find that the brain changes seen in individuals practicing yoga are associated with better performance on cognitive tests or measures of emotional regulation.

The discovery that yoga may have similar effects on the brain to aerobic exercise is intriguing and warrants more study, said researchers.

Yoga is an antidote to the fast pace of today’s technology. Pixabay

“Yoga is not aerobic in nature, so there must be other mechanisms leading to these brain changes,” she said. “So far, we don’t have the evidence to identify what those mechanisms are.”

Enhancing emotional regulation is a key to yoga’s positive effects on the brain.

“In one of my previous studies, we were looking at how yoga changes the cortisol stress response,” Gothe said.

Also Read: Here’s What 1.1 mn Children Learn About Santa Claus From Google Every Year

“We found that those who had done yoga for eight weeks had an attenuated cortisol response to stress that was associated with better performance on tests of decision-making, task-switching and attention.”

Yoga helps people with or without anxiety disorders manage their stress.

“The practice of yoga helps improve emotional regulation to reduce stress, anxiety and depression,” she said. (IANS)