What Is Mewing And How Does It Work?

For people who want to change their facial profile or strengthen their jawline, it may seem like an expensive plastic surgery operation is the only way to go. However, there might be a DIY technique for changing one's facial profile appearance. And although it's exploded as a social media trend, the technique isn't new in the medical community. That technique is called mewing. It may sound like a sound your cat makes, but it's a technique named after British orthodontist Michael Mew, per WebMD.

Mewing is a believed way to alter the shape of your jawline by altering tongue placement and alignment (via Healthline). Proper tongue alignment is something that orthodontists and other mouth specialists have historically advocated for as a way to improve jaw pain, correct speech-related issues, and make adjustments to jaw definition. A 2018 study published in the Radiation and Oncology journal found that teaching children proper tongue placement led to improvements in speech and articulation impediments. 

Modern mewing techniques are based on orthotropics, which were originally intended for children whose jaws and mouths were still growing and developing (per WebMD). According to the North American Association of Facial Orthotropics, orthotropics encompasses a belief and practice of guided facial growth. This means that through the use of exercises, like mewing or myofunctional therapy, and tools, like headgear, the shape of one's face can be altered.

Mewing technique and effectiveness

The premise of mewing is that if the tongue exercises are performed regularly and you're able to alter your tongue alignment, then you'll in turn be able to change the appearance of your face (via WebMD). To give mewing a try, first start by closing your lips together and jutting your jaw out until your upper front teeth are just barely in front of your bottom front teeth. Then press your tongue flat against the roof of your mouth, with your tongue's tip just behind your front teeth (but without pressing into them). Relax your tongue as it is pressed against the roof of your mouth and try to hold this position as often as possible. According to Healthline, some proponents even recommend holding the mewing position while drinking.

When it comes to seeing results from mewing, you'll have to be patient. Any results you experience probably won't be noticeable for at least a year. Because orthotropics are primarily meant for children with growing jaws (and not for adults whose jaws have already fully developed), adults may not see drastic results from mewing. Additionally, be wary of images that you see on the internet that promote mewing results, since virtual images can be doctored and photoshopped. Medical News Today reports that there is no scientific evidence to back up claims that mewing actually works. However, there are other medical treatments if you have concerns about your jawline or facial appearance.