Weakening of facial muscles that comes with Parkinson’s disease can cause people to lose facial tone and take on a blank expression, a symptom known as “masking.” It can also lead to difficulties with eating and drooling. Reducing these symptoms can make a big difference in how comfortable a person with Parkinson’s feels in many social situations, such as family events.
Fortunately, there are facial exercises which, when practiced regularly, can help better control these symptoms. It’s best to perform these facial exercises in front of a mirror. Because a person with Parkinson’s can’t always accurately feel how big or exaggerate a movement they are making, using a mirror helps them to see the movement for themselves.
The exercises themselves are very simple, and include things like holding a smile, raising your eyebrows as high as you can, stretching your jaw open, or flaring your nostrils. It may feel a little like you are making silly faces, but these facial exercises can have a seriously positive effect on your quality of life.
Facial exercises are included in the Parkinson’s exercise program delivered by the Wellthon mobile app. Based on the evidence-based Delay the Disease program, users have seen marked improvement after participating in these exercise routines designed specifically to reduce Parkinson’s symptoms.