It is OK to make a face - 6 easy facial exercises!
Updated: May 12
A common point of frustration for those with Parkinson's disease is facial masking. This can be caused by weakness in the facial muscles along with slowness and smallness of facial movements. This can also make it difficulty to eat and manage your saliva. This masked face can be misinterpreted by others as a lack of interest. This can lead to feelings of frustration and feeling self conscious in social situations.
There are several benefits of doing facial exercises:
The good news is that you can do exercises targeted to improve your facial expressions jut like you do exercises to make it easier to get out of a chair or roll over in bed. There are 43 muscles in your face which help you express happiness and joy along with sadness and anger. Remember that saying if you use it you improve it. This can apply to improving your facial expressions.
When starting out it is helpful to do these in front of a mirror as this give you lots of feedback. People with PD have a difficult time gauging how quickly and how big their movements are and the mirror can give some helpful and needed feedback. These may seem silly when starting out but they can make a difference in helping you get your smile back.
These exercises are do not require any other equipment other than a mirror. These can be performed 1-2 times a day. You can start with 5 reps and build to 10. Remember that we are exercising these muscles so it is OK for them to get tired.
2. Raising your eyebrows up and wrinkling your forehead
3. Closing your eyes tightly
4. Stick your tongue out and move it to the right and to the left
*This can be helpful to be able to move food around in your mouth and to get food unstuck in your cheeks
5. Pout your lips
6. Open your mouth and make an O
Now go get your smile!