Zygomaticus Smile Biofeedback
Give the Zygomaticus (smile muscle) training I've been teaching to practitioners for
years a try. Two ways to do it:
1) Use a frontalis placement. Get an EMG reading with the person relaxing as much as
possible. Then have the person to smile as strong as possible. The readings don't count
during smiling. Then go for relaxation again. OFten, the smile will break through some
unreleased tightness and yield a lower relaxation reading.
2) Use a zygomaticus placement-- place two active electrodes each one third distance from
corner of mouth to zygomatic arch (cheekbone where smile muscle attaches) Then place
reference electrode elsewhere. Instructyour client to smile as strong as possible, to the
extent of straining really hard, like a weightlifter lifting a heavy weight. We're talking
muscles here. Get a reading once you see that the client is really putting in a lot of
effort. I've seen readings from 250 microvolts on the high end, with a big burly guy, to 6
microvolts with a slim, depressed young woman.
Then, joke around with your client, do something to get him or her to laugh. Pull out a
feather and threaten to tickle, for example.
Very often you will find that the readings double or even quadruple, even though the
client is smiling effortlessly. The message is that learning to let go releases more
energy and power with less effort-- that straining without letting go can actually be much
much more work and effort, with less results. This is a powerful, dramatic demonstration
that is also a lot of fun, since it's really just a lot of laughing and smiling.
To read more about smile exercises, go to Positivity Central
at my website, where I have a whole chapter which I originally wrote for the book Clinical
EMG Volume 2, edited by Jeff Cram, Emotional Self Regulation and Facial
Expression Muscle Measurement and Training. and other
chapters I have written on positivity and the anatomy of positive experience.