Jan Bronk (a mime actor) and Pieter Devriese (an ear, nose, and throat doctor) developed mime therapy in the 1970s. It applies the principles of mime for patients suffering from a lack of facial movement or uncontrolled movements.
Does it work?
In a study of 50 people with facial nerve paralysis, 3 months of mime therapy resulted in improved facial symmetry compared to a group that did not receive mime therapy. The response was not affected by age, sex, and duration of paralysis.
An earlier study reported improvement in stiffness and lip mobility in 50 patients with longstanding (at least 9 months) paralysis on one side of the face.
A third study reported that the benefits lasted for one year after treatment.
The center for mime therapy research is Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre in The Netherlands. Each of these studies was conducted there.
John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.