Stress-busting smiles: A genuine grin can help the heart; Is polite faking enough to see benefits?

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 26 2013 12:00 a.m. MST

Scientists are trying to determine if health benefits can come from fake smiles as well as genuine ones.

"Smiling could be good for your health.

"Researchers are finding that wearing a smile brings certain benefits, like slowing down the heart and reducing stress. This may even happen when people aren't aware they are forming a smile, according to a recent study. The work follows research that established that the act of smiling can make you feel happier.

"Some research suggests only a full and genuine smile affects the body in positive ways. Other studies, though, indicate even a polite smile may be beneficial. Frowning also may have a health effect: Preventing people from frowning, such as with the use of Botox, can help alleviate depression, a recent study found.

"'You can influence mental health by what you do with your face, whether you smile more or frown less,' says Eric Finzi, a dermatologic surgeon and co-author of the study on frowning."

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