How to relax  

An important stage of the process is to learn how to “let go” of a muscle. This sounds strange but it is actually how muscles work. Their action of relaxation is not an active one, but instead, it’s a process of letting go of the tension within the muscle.

The concept of muscle tone

At rest, your muscles are not completely relaxed, but are in a state of partial contraction called its resting tone. The distance the muscle can contract to (called its range of motion) is between this state of partial contraction (resting tone) and fully contracted. There is a minimum length that a muscle can shorten to due to its tendency to bunch up when contacted. If a muscle has no resting tone, then it cannot resist the forces of gravity or the action of other muscles on it. This is what happens shortly after the onset of facial paralysis. The muscles on the affected side become elongated due to the effects of gravity, and the pull from muscles on the unaffected side

One way to understand the concept of resting tone is to sit down and rest your hands on your knees. Focus right now on your shoulders- they should be relaxed but if you imagine that your arms are a dead weight being held up by your shoulders you should experience a “letting go” of muscle tension in your shoulders, which should then droop somewhat. Try it now, keeping your hands on your thighs.

However, the shoulder muscles still have some tension within them. If you released this tension, your hands will slide off your lap and hang limply from your shoulders.

Give it a try

Try this now- completely let go of the tension inside your shoulder muscles and let your arms hang limp.

This same process of letting go can be applied to your facial muscles. Follow the videos in the Practice section to help you develop a more relaxed face. Interestingly, you may find that once you’ve learned to relax your face, it becomes easier to relax other parts of your body.

Read more

Do something every day 

Why facial massage is important

Things to avoid

Why muscle relaxation is important