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Face yoga might be less far-fetched than it sounds.

The art of facial “workouts” are designed to increase muscle size, leading to a fuller and firmer appearance.

While skeptics might have once dismissed the bizarre regimen as a marketing ploy set on exploiting female insecurities, new research has proven that a daily facial exercise routine can actually reduce signs of aging in middle-aged women.

In an experiment conducted at Northwestern University in Chicago, researchers found that by embarking on a regular 30-minute facial exercise program for 20 weeks, participants lowered their average estimated age by roughly three years.

Study participants, a group of 27 women aged between 40 and 65 years old, learned 32 different exercises and conducted each for about a minute for the duration of the experiment.

Movements included opening the mouth to form an O, smiling to raise the cheek muscles and massaging the cheeks with the tips of your fingers.

Another exercise involved smiling without showing teeth.

Experts were asked to estimate the ages of all participants before and after the study and the average age dropped from 50.8 to 48.1 years.

“Assuming the findings are confirmed in a larger study, individuals now have a low-cost, non-toxic way for looking younger or to augment other cosmetic or anti-aging treatments,” explained lead author Dr Murad Alam, a professor of dermatology at the university.

Face yoga was first developed by a yoga teacher in New York named Annelise Hagen in 2007.

It has since surged in popularity and is now taught by a number of professionals – there are even dedicated facial fitness studios where clients can take lessons in the practize.

Namaste.

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