The Mimic Muscles, Facial Expression, and SFL

The mimic muscles, genetics, and life experience play a significant role in how our faces change with age and time. SFL therapy addresses the visual changes associated with aging and daily stressors, helping you achieve a more rested and balanced appearance.

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Our facial expressions play a significant role in how we communicate with others and convey our emotions. However, the constant use of our facial muscles can lead to imbalances that affect our appearance.

SFL focuses on the following concerns:

  • Over-toned muscles and restrictive connective tissue
  • Visual changes such as lines and wrinkles
  • Under-toned muscles contribute to tissue laxity and drooping
  • Tense jaws from chronic clenching and stress
  • Facial puffiness and improving lymphatic drainage
  • Skin health and circulation of micronutrients

This article discusses how the mimic muscles affect facial expression and overall appearance and how Sculptural Face Lifting (SFL) technique can help.

What are mimic muscles?

The 20+ facial or mimicry muscles control facial expression and movement.

They originate from the skull bone’s surface or fascia and attach under the skin at the subcutaneous layer. When they contract, the skin moves, causing wrinkles at right angles to the muscles’ action line.

There are generally three groups of facial muscles: orbital (eyelid and brow), nasal (nose and nostril), and oral (mouth). To simplify, each group either lifts or pull down.

The facial nerve innervates the mimic muscles. And the trigeminal nerve supplies the mastication or chewing muscles.

How do mimic muscles impact our appearance?

The continuous engagement of these muscles shapes and changes the face and décolletage over time. Along with normal aging and gravity, muscles and tissue imbalances occur, and lines become etched in our skin.

Shortened muscles and restricted connective tissue cause tension, pulling down the corners of the mouth or exaggerating wrinkles and lines in the forehead and around the eyes and nose. In contrast, other tissues are underused and become lax.

How do emotions affect our mimic muscles?

Frequent habitual facial expressions, and the feelings and thoughts behind them, impact the mimic muscles.

For example, if you are prone to frowning or worrying, you may notice more drooping or lines corresponding to specific facial expressions. Or chronic jaw tension may contribute to a heavier appearance in the cheeks.

Different studies suggest there are sixteen complex universal expressions people share worldwide.

  • Amusement
  • Anger
  • Awe
  • Concentration
  • Confusion
  • Contempt
  • Contentment
  • Desire
  • Disappointment
  • Doubt
  • Elation
  • Interest
  • Pain
  • Sadness
  • Surprise
  • Triumph

Also, micro-expressions are facial expressions that pass too quickly for a casual observer to notice. They usually come and go in less than a half second, but they portray the same feelings as a longer-lasting expression. A micro-expression often occurs if someone feels uncertain or is trying to conceal something.

SFL therapy and its impact on mimic muscles

Sculptural Face Lifting (SFL) therapy is a holistic approach to improving the overall appearance and tissue health. SFL targets the mimic muscles, skin, connective tissue, and lymphatic vessels.

The manual therapy techniques gently manipulate the skin, muscles, and tissues, promoting relaxation and circulation. This technique helps to:

  • Lengthen shortened muscles
  • Stimulate undertoned tissues
  • Soften lines
  • Improve facial contour

The intra-oral massage is an essential component of the treatment, specifically addressing tension in the mouth and cheek area and zeroing in on lines and other visual concerns important to you.

Lymphatic drainage reduces puffiness and improves the delivery of micronutrients to all tissues and skin.

Finally, SFL therapy also helps you become more aware of how feelings impact your appearance in your daily life.

Headshot of Catherine Walton, RMT

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Ready to address the one body part we look at daily in the mirror? Book an SFL treatment today and experience the transformative effects for yourself!