A recently published study* verifies something all people have known for ages now
"Grin and bear it: A surprisingly effective strategy to manage stress."
"According to the Facial Feedback Hypothesis, we not only smile because we’re happy but the actual activation of the muscles involved in smiling can have an impact on mood, making us happier. Our results confirmed this to be true as well, with smilers maintaining a positive mood throughout the stressful tasks better than the neutral group."
Interventions with Botox seem to have a similar positive effect also.**
Implications for the (facial) Reflexologist: When attending to a client where you subjectively conclude that there is present a negative emotional element, among the other benficial things you can do, go for the face!
The facial muscles involved in emotional expression are governed by nerves following a complex system of direct and indirect pathways to and from the motor cortex (voluntary smile circuit under conscious control) and the limbic system and brain stem (spontaneous smile circuit not under conscious control).
Smile muscles - Those are the muscles that run upwards from your lip to your eye.
While working on these mucles you can think through concepts like reflexology maps, meridians, zones etc. and thus interpret things accordingly to everyones benefit.
The muscles can be approached using the Hippocratic law on rubbing - feel first and then apply accordingly!
Bottom line smile, even if you have too, fake it, it really is contagious!