When I opened my Facial Fitness studio in London, I viewed my work as providing a keep-fit regime for the face. Within days, I realized this wasn't the main concern for many of my clients. Age and ageing were their main worries.
The age of a person is really quite irrelevant. I still can't view myself or others in terms simply of a number of years. It is just not that important. There is an enormous amount you can do for yourself to delay the inevitable ageing process.
Exercise is undoubtedly one of the chief factors in staying more youthful and confident at whatever age, and the good news is that it's never too late to start! With correct exercising, the improvement to the face can be amazing. Many of my clients now comment that they no longer worry about getting older. This is how I feel too, and this gives a sense of freedom to get on with other things in life. Our mental attitude to age really does need to change.
Of course, the earlier you start to look after yourself the better, but I have known people at seventy and eighty who have found a great improvement in their well-being and appearance following the Facial Fitness programme.
A question I am sometimes asked is, 'isn't this all rather vain? I would feel guilty spending so much time on myself'. But how can exercising and keeping fit be considered vain? Looking after yourself means that, as you get older, you are more likely to stay strong and fit. Everyone needs to give themselves space and time for the things they want to do. This isn't selfish – it is an absolute necessity. Also the time spent on this programme is minimal. At first you will obviously have to learn the exercises, and this takes time. But over the weeks the exercises will become easier, and ten minutes every other day is then enough to keep your face toned and fit.
The muscles of the face differ from those of the body in that they are attached directly to the skin that covers them. This means that when the facial muscles sag, the skin attached to them sags too. In fact the slackening of the facial muscles is one of the main causes of the sagging and drooping that most of us eventually experience, leading to bags under the eyes, loose folds of skin on the upper eyelids, pouches, jowls, turkey-necks….. Need I go on? If the body were as neglected as so many faces appear to be, some of us would have muscles so wasted away that we would barely be able to walk.
Why do we neglect our facial muscles so much, perhaps just pinning our hopes on yet another miracle cream? Many creams can improve the texture of the skin, of course, but so far there is no cream that can improve the tone and strength of a muscle. If your stomach muscles are slack, all the creams in the world will do nothing to tighten them, and it is the same with the face. Muscles have to be exercised in order to become firm and fit!
The methods I teach are not new. In 1978 I was fortunate to meet a very impressive woman by the name of Eva Hoffman. Way back in 1930, with the assistance of a doctor, she had devised a method of exercising the facial muscles. She spent the following years travelling the world giving private lessons in her technique to a very wealthy clientele. When we met, Eva was seventy six, but looked as if she was in her fifties. She was just amazing. And her secret was simply facial exercises. At that time Madame Hoffman had been retired for six years, but, after some persuasion, she gave me her course, and later trained me to carry on her work. Since then I have modified some of her techniques considerably, but her basic approach has remained the same.
My gratitude to Madame Hoffman has no bounds, not only for the peace of mind she gave me (now at the age of seventy five, I have no fear of ageing), but also on behalf of the countless others who have benefited from her methods.
By Eva Fraser
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