brown and yellow coated cat
Wait, what? Mewing isn't just for cats? Photo by Jeanie de Klerk @ Unsplash

Mewing – Gimmick or Gamechanger?

Spoiler alert: Other than the picture, this has nothing to do with cats.

But it does have to do with an important topic. Imagine walking through a gym. You pass by the weight room section and see various people sculpting their biceps with curls, benching, squatting, deadlifting, meticulously doing upper and lower ab work on the large mats. What is missing from this picture is that you do not see anyone working on the one body feature that defines us more than all of the other parts together – the face. 

Now turn to your own face. Where is your tongue? According to the “mewing” phemonmenom, your “tongue posture” could potentially impact  facial aesthetics,  sleep and breathing quality and overall body posture.

What is mewing, and where did it come from?

The basic idea behind mewing is changing your facial appearance by changing the out the placement of your tongue in your mouth. The “default” position for most people is the tongue being slack against the bottom, thus “dragging down”the facial appearance. Mewing encourages you to keep your tongue “up” and “back” in the palate (roof) of your mouth.

To quickly understand what this means, say the word “King”. Now when you are saying the “n” part, your tongue naturally suctions to the top. The idea is to keep it there as much as possible, as a habit, overtime, keep your mouth closed, and breathe through your nose.

The ideas behind mewing come from the work of British orthodontist John Mew, and his son, fellow orthodontist Michael Mew. Together, they promote a form of orthodontics dubbed “orthotropics” that focuses on retraining the position of the tongue.

With mewing, you could potentially correct years of bad posture, jaw misalignment, and bad breathing technique in just a few months, if you believe the before and after photos

Why am I telling you about this?

Well, it is not because I am a mewing convert. I am curious, and I love exploring atypical health trends. I have never, ever, thought about where my tongue was in my mouth before I heard of mewing. Now I think about it at least 10 times a day.

The best way to explain mewing is to watch this video from Dr. Mike Mew, which has almost 1.3 million views. Even if you think this all gobbledy goo, this guy is fascinating to watch (albeit, you may want to speed it up to 1.5X, he talks ver-y slow-ly in his British accent).

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Here he explains the mealtime exercises, and more on technique:

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What are mewing’s benefits?

If you ask social media influencers, it defines your jawline and gives you the high cheekbones you always wanted. But if you want deeper value, the following are also potential benefits of mewing:

  • Correct speech impediments
  • Alleviate pain from jaw-related issues
  • Treat sleep apnea
  • Align misaligned teeth
  • Correct bad posture and alleviate neck pain

Why Your Face Matters

Even if you focus on just the face, it is worth considering that a potentially more defined jawline and symmetrical face are benefits that can get you ahead in your career. Research shows the face is the most important factor in judging overall attractivness. And the research goes further – attractive people are more successful and have an earning potential of 3-4 percent higher than average. Your face is still the first and sometimes only thing people can see on Zoom calls. We have so many options to work out our bodies, so an option to “work out” your face is intriguing.

But the science is still out on if mewing truly works or is merely anecdoctal.

What does mewing have to do with body posture?

Huh? What does your tongue have to do with your body? A lot, apparently.

As Dr. Mike Mew explains in the video below, improper tongue posture has the impact of bringing the jaw forward and down, which causes the body to overcompensate by rounding the shoulders and drooping the head forward, known as “forward head posture”, which is also caused by the “tech neck” condition discussed in one of my earlier posts.  This not only is unattractive, but it also can cause severe neck and shoulder tension and headaches. 

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What Does Mewing Have to Do With Eating?

In the “tongue chewing” exercise to chewing, you use mostly your tongue muscles, rather than your cheeks to move the food around, to smash and chew the food thoroughly before swallowing. The technique also requires making the food “come to you” rather than hunching over, taking small bites, and chewing very thoroughly. 

Here is Dr. Mew explaining how to properly eat for proper jaw alignment. I cannot opine on whether it actually works for your jaw, but I can say you will look as elegant and as refined as the Queen.

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My experience mewing for two weeks

I have been “mewing” for a few weeks now, and here are my observations. First of all, I have never been so acutely aware of where my tongue is.My discovery of mewing has also significantly changed my relationship with food.  I was unaware that I am also apparently chewing food the wrong way.

In terms of the verdict of whether all the medical claims are true, I am not a doctor nor in a position to comment, but I will leave some articles below for you to consider. After doing mewing exercises on the daily,I feel less tension in my neck and upper body, and that I am breathing better.

I also noticed significant improvements in my eating patterns. After a few meals, I found that I was eating more slowly and elegantly. Now I feel like Kate Middleton having afternoon tea every time I eat! I also feel fuller faster – which is a nice side benefit to chewing smaller bites and eating slowly – you eat less. I do not see a huge difference in my face,  I feel a visible difference in the spatial relationship between my head and neck. My neck feels “longer,” I am sitting and standing taller, and I feel more confident. My jaw already started pretty sharp, but exercises like the “Moon Kiss” are helping me stretch it and get less tension there. (I have to wear a mouthgard at night already.)

A sharper jawline can be achived by the “Moon Kiss,” which is just looking up and stretching the front of your neck.

My experience is consistent with some of the results reported in an article in Men’s Health: Similar results to “After three weeks of practicing mewing, I’m not sure there’s any difference in my looks,” he says, “but I am seeing improvements. My nasal breathing, for one, has improved drastically… I’m also more aware of my posture, and I’m working to keep my neck more in line with my spine.”

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The Bottom (Jaw)Line

So while mewing may not give you a Zoolander sculpted jawline, it can have physical benefits, but you should definitely consult with a medical professional before making mewing a regular part of your routine. In fact, there are some claims that mewing can actually lead to dental health issues like TMJ. It seems everyone responds differently. You don’t have to “buy in” to all the extreme mewing techniques that are on the interwebs to reap some of the benefits. 

In terms of finding these exercises and more about mewing, you can find a very good sequence in this video, and all the other videos on my playlist –

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Other Resoruces

And there is also a “Mewing” app ou can download for daily exercises (not a personal endorsement, only for your info). You can definitely learn all about the techniques by just watching the videos on Dr. mew’s channel, but if you want to check out the app as well that may be a good option especially if you appreciate daily reminders and a tailored “mewing plan.” 

I will leave you with some of the other articles and info on mewing. You can also catch my mewing playlist on my YouTube Channel (and subscribe to get future videos!)

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What is Mewing?

Influencers love Mewing – But Does it Really Work?

Watch This Guy Try ‘Mewing’ Every Day for a Whole Month

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