Serving me tea in her airy suite at Chicago’s Four Seasons hotel, Liza Egbogah, BSc, DC, DOMP, a Toronto-based myofascial release expert, floats around in a gauzy white dress that highlights the sort of angelic, fairy godmother glow she bequeaths to the complexions of stars like Yara Shahidi, Sally Hawkins, and Amanda Brugel. It’s not just her otherworldly manners and presentation that warrant the attention—it all started a year into her decade of practice when clients started to report surprising side effects after myofascial release appointments.
“Not only did they feel better, but also looked markedly younger and more refreshed. An actor had come in for back pain, but when he returned to set his co-stars asked if he had work done because he looked like he just took 10 years off,” she shares. Though the promise of a fountain-of-youth facial surely caught my attention, I’ve come to discuss rumors that her aforementioned treatment is actually helping clients to sit straighter, stand taller, and reverse the dreaded “cashew” shape that spending hours slouched over a keyboard can create. “Posture is greatly affected by receptors in the joints and muscles in your upper neck region,” explains the facialist who’s gained a reputation for her magic fingers and signature Face Lift Facial. Here’s what to know about the posture-enhancing facial, and how to replicate the sit-straighter results at home.
Re-posturing via release
According to Dr. Liza, the whispers are true, and she illustrates the reposturing process in impressive detail. “When the face, especially the jaw, is misaligned because of tight muscles (like your masseter and temporalis) this can cause your head to move forward, tilt and rotate because of muscles in the neck that have tightened up to compensate,” she explains. “This change in positioning will then cause the pectoralis muscles to tighten, rolling your shoulders forward and creating a hunch in your middle back. By releasing tight facial and jaw muscles or fascia, you can create alignment which improves the positioning of the neck, correcting the chain reaction.” After a session, many patients find that once their above-the-neck fascia has been gently released, an immediate reduction in neck, shoulder and back tension ensues. “This is because the head has moved back to its normal position and is no longer putting undue stress on the neck and the rest of the spine,” Dr. Liza notes. “As your body senses the correction in the face and neck, it starts to fall back into alignment.”
While appointments are always available as she flies coast to coast treating high profile clients, Dr. Liza agreed to break down her trademark moves for anyone hoping to approximate an at-home, mini-adjustment on themselves or a friend—even if it’s just to spend a few extra minutes with that jade roller, long forgotten in the freezer. “Facial tapping—almost like slapping your face with your fingers—and using a jade roller over tightened facial muscles and can help re-create some of the effect,” she admits, though some of these moves are clearly best left to a professional.
What to expect from a myofascial facial
1. To start, myofascial release is performed on the upper back and shoulders with upward strokes, moving towards the head. The face is massaged to determine where there are knots in the muscles and fascia and to assess whether they are affecting alignment in the face.
2. A jade roller (Hora Skin Care’s version uses actual jade stone, $26) is used to release tight muscles in the face and promote lymphatic drainage. The gua sha stone (like Skin Gym’s Crystal Beauty Tool, $32) is used for areas that require contouring or to provide a deeper muscle release in chronically tight fascia and muscles.
3. Next facial cupping (easily found in a set like Vie Healing’s collection, $36) is used in areas where there is hollowing or wrinkling to stimulate collagen production and activate thinned out muscles.
4. Osteopathic manipulations are used on the facial bones and cartilage of the nose to create balance and symmetry in the face. (Don’t try this at home!)
5. Facial tapping is used to, again, boost collagen, increase tone in the skin, and encourage the appropriate muscles to contract creating a natural lift.