Can Botox Make You Feel Better?
A recent article in the Sunday Times revealed that 10 years of research by American dermatologist Eric Finzi has shown that injecting Botox into your furrowed forehead (the vertical grooves in the brow) can actually make you feel happier and affect your relationships.
The brain is constantly registering what your face is doing – if you’re laughing the brain decreases stress hormones, with negative feedback such as frowning the brain (you) thinks more pessimistically. In other words your facial expressions are a cause of your mood as much as your mood causes your facial expressions – a question of which comes first the chicken or the egg?
In Finzi’s new book ‘ The Face of Emotion – How Botox Affects Our Moods and Relationships’ he says that Botox can in about 50% of cases dramatically improve both mood and relationships. This is a bold claim; in the book he describes how one client who had a ‘hyperactive’ frown after treatment with Botox found her marital conflict reduced as her husband no longer thought she was always cross with him.
So how does Botox make us feel better? It would appear that the Amygdala, the part of the brain that is associated with depression is affected by Botox and has a reduced response when Botox is injected into facial muscles. Whilst Botox is sometimes given a bad rap this new research that it has a much greater positive impact on our lives than just making us look better. It’s worth remembering that this substance is also used to treat Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy, migraines and excessive sweating.
Finzi’s studies would appear to be supported by plastic surgeons who perform face-lifts. Gravity can make us look progressively cross or unhappy; the corners of the mouth move down, the jowl droops and eyelids start to look heavy. After good surgery people may react to us differently because we pick up on the subtle cues that makes us look young or old, happy or sad.
28 February, 2013