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Evidence that buccinators doesn't affect hollow cheeks  

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Loliboly
Estimable Member

When playing wind instruments, the main muscle being used is the buccinators. The name of the muscle even comes from the latin word bucinator, which means trumpet player. It is also know as the "trumpet muscle". Now, the average person eats for around an hour a day, and the work exerted by the buccinators is yet probably never noticed, since the activation is so miniscule. Now, think about the professional wind player. This person will practice their instrument for several hours a day, and the effort is much higher than what is required when we are swallowing our food. So, if it is true that hypertrophied buccinators bloats the face, professional wind players shouldn't be able to have hollow cheeks. Well, take a look at wind player Zac Zinger.

I think the pictures speaks for them self. Now, it is still important to swallow correctly, as not doing so cause crowding of the teeth. But otherwise, this may finally end the discussion about what role the buccinators plays in facial appearance. With a enough developed face, such as Zinger has, hollow cheeks will naturally appear.

Edit 1: Here are some more pictures of clarinetist Martin Fröst and trumpet player Chet Baker(Baker is discussed in a post below). Note both of their hollow cheeks, in addition to their relatively well developed faces. 

Edit 2: Link to source stating the buccinators are used for playing wind instruments - https://www.kenhub.com/en/library/anatomy/buccinator-muscle

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Posted : 05/05/2020 9:47 am
Azrael liked
Azrael
Estimable Member

This is interesting, I would like to see the Mews' response to this.

Also, I've seen some people playing the instruments in different styles. Some seem to be blowing their cheeks out (like the way I used to swallow liquids) like this:

And some play them like this:

Could these different styles play a role in buccinator hypertrophy and atrophy? Perhaps Zac Zinger plays the instruments similar to the latter style?

Edit: The second style is called an embouchure apparently, and it's a technique used by (all?) professional players. So I think it's safe to assume that Zac Zinger probably uses this technique as well which resulted in his hollow cheeks. This actually seems to give further proof that the Mews were in fact right about buccinator hypertrophy.

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Posted : 05/05/2020 10:10 am
Lawnmewer
Active Member

I think the diaphragm being used instead of the buccinators, as you're inhaling and exhaling. Buccinator is responsible for sucking, like how babies suck milk out of their mother's breast.

And like Azrael said, some people have blown out cheeks while playing these instruments. If you try sucking your finger, you will notice your cheeks cave in as far as they can. That's what your buccinators do. If you try doing the same with blown out cheeks, you won't be able to.

 

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Posted : 05/05/2020 10:27 am
Azrael liked
Loliboly
Estimable Member

@azrael

I don't think so. Here is a picture of trumpet player Chet Baker. He was very good looking and had significant hollowing of his cheeks.

 

Yet, he played the trumpet like this(the way you used to swallow).

 

To be intellectually honest: It is said that Baker was very talented and thus practiced his trumpet very little. But if we take into account the countless of hours he must have spent during his near 40 year long career by rehearsing, playing concerts, composing, and just playing at home for fun, I think we shouldn't expect his face to look the way it did if Mike Mews hypothesis is correct.

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Posted : 05/05/2020 10:31 am
Loliboly
Estimable Member
Posted by: @azrael

Some seem to be blowing their cheeks out (like the way I used to swallow liquids) like this:

And some play them like this:

Edit: The second style is called an embouchure apparently, and it's a technique used by (all?) professional players. So I think it's safe to assume that Zac Zinger probably uses this technique as well which resulted in his hollow cheeks. This actually seems to give further proof that the Mews were in fact right about buccinator hypertrophy.

This cannot be correct, and there are different reasons for that.

1. While it is true that there exists different kinds of techniques, a lot of professionals play with the first kind of technique. Chet Baker did so for example and still had hollow cheeks.
2. Either technique you use is going to work to buccinators. So if M. Mews was right, Zinger shouldn't have the cheeks he has. I assume you suspect the more second technique doesn't make the buccinators hypertrophy, since it looks like it is rather toning than growing the muscles. But then what about sucking? That is one of the buccinators main functions, and M. Mews hypothesis is just that a suckle swallow makes the buccinators grow.

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Posted : 05/05/2020 10:47 am
Azrael
Estimable Member

Doing a simple search on Google showed that he also used the embouchure:

Perhaps the "blowing out cheeks" instance (as seen in the photograph you linked was used momentarily before engaging an embouchure which I assume was the technique used for performances.

I wish someone who actually plays a wind instrument (unlike me) could provide us with some insight.

ReplyQuote
Posted : 05/05/2020 10:50 am
Azrael
Estimable Member
Posted by: @loliboly

This cannot be correct, and there are different reasons for that.

1. While it is true that there exists different kinds of techniques, a lot of professionals play with the first kind of technique. Chet Baker did so for example and still had hollow cheeks.

I didn't see this reply before linking his usage of the embouchure as well but I guess you can see this is not in fact true.

Posted by: @loliboly

2. Either technique you use is going to work to buccinators. So if M. Mews was right, Zinger shouldn't have the cheeks he has. I assume you suspect the more second technique doesn't make the buccinators hypertrophy, since it looks like it is rather toning than growing the muscles. But then what about sucking? That is one of the buccinators main functions, and M. Mews hypothesis is just that a suckle swallow makes the buccinators grow.

I'm not really sure about that. Swallowing in the above blown cheeks method gave me slightly more chubbier cheeks than I have right now.

Switching to the current method which is closer to the embouchure more than the blown cheeks style seems to slowly hollow them (we can know for sure in the next few months).

I don't suck either these days, btw. Not because of any potential buccinator hypertrophy but because of the lockdown (I don't consume beverages with straws these days).

ReplyQuote
Posted : 05/05/2020 10:56 am
Loliboly
Estimable Member

@azrael

There are other pictures of him where he clearly blew up his cheeks:

You may also watch him in live action here, around 02:16. His cheeks clearly blows up: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovLnErR3qxM

I am no wind player myself, but as a musician who has conversed with other wind players, the look of your cheeks depends on how well developed your technique is. Still, even if you use the embouchure or not, you will still work the muscles you are using, and thus they will grow. Actually, the embouchure is a sign of well developed technique, since it means your buccinators have learnt so stay in shape while resisting the force from the air blowing though your mouth. The blown up cheeks are actually a sign that you have weaker buccinators than someone with a well developed embouchure. Remember, the buccinators doesn't blow up the cheeks, but rather makes them slimmer while tensing up. However, if you still don't think the embouchure doesn't hypertrophy the buccinators, I am open to hear you thoughts. But at the current state, I really think the hypothesis has been shown to be false.

Something other to take into account: A person with hollow cheeks won't look as bloated when playing the trumpet, compared to someone who has chubby cheeks. Compare the pictures I just posted of Baker to those of Louis Armstrong:

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Posted : 05/05/2020 11:15 am
Azrael liked
Loliboly
Estimable Member
Posted by: @azrael
Posted by: @loliboly

This cannot be correct, and there are different reasons for that.

1. While it is true that there exists different kinds of techniques, a lot of professionals play with the first kind of technique. Chet Baker did so for example and still had hollow cheeks.

I didn't see this reply before linking his usage of the embouchure as well but I guess you can see this is not in fact true.

Seems we are out of sync, comment wise. Please see my latest response to this. Trust me. It is not uncommon, especially in jazz, to play with blown up cheeks. Proper technique is not always stressed in the same way as in classical music for example, which places more emphasis on sound production and tone(which is affect by the shape of the cheeks).

Posted by: @loliboly

2. Either technique you use is going to work to buccinators. So if M. Mews was right, Zinger shouldn't have the cheeks he has. I assume you suspect the more second technique doesn't make the buccinators hypertrophy, since it looks like it is rather toning than growing the muscles. But then what about sucking? That is one of the buccinators main functions, and M. Mews hypothesis is just that a suckle swallow makes the buccinators grow.

I'm not really sure about that. Swallowing in the above blown cheeks method gave me slightly more chubbier cheeks than I have right now.

Switching to the current method which is closer to the embouchure more than the blown cheeks style seems to slowly hollow them (we can know for sure in the next few months).

I don't suck either these days, btw. Not because of any potential buccinator hypertrophy but because of the lockdown (I don't consume beverages with straws these days).

Remember that you had a suture split, which will have widened your face, thus giving room for your cheeks to collapse inwards. And you recently told me that Mike Mew stated it takes around 1 years for the buccinators to atrophy. You are only 3-4 months in into your mewing development, which to me suggest proves the point I am trying to make: hollow cheeks is just a matter of bone structure and fat, but not about muscle usage.

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Posted : 05/05/2020 11:23 am
Loliboly
Estimable Member
Posted by: @lawnmewer

I think the diaphragm being used instead of the buccinators, as you're inhaling and exhaling. Buccinator is responsible for sucking, like how babies suck milk out of their mother's breast.

Yes, the diaphragm is used when playing wind instruments. However, this has to do with the support of ones breath while blowing air into the instrument. The buccinators are used, but for another purpose, namely the manipulation of pitch(playing higher or lower notes), as well as for adjusting the volume. You can easily observe this by whistling, which also relies on the use of the buccinators. It doesn't matter if you blow the air in(like when you suck on something) or out(when playing an instrument).

And like Azrael said, some people have blown out cheeks while playing these instruments. If you try sucking your finger, you will notice your cheeks cave in as far as they can. That's what your buccinators do. If you try doing the same with blown out cheeks, you won't be able to.

 

Azraels point was the blown up cheeks might be what causes the hypertrophy. But as I stated in an post higher up, the cause if the cheeks blowing up is a sign of the buccinators not being activated properly. This means that we should expect wind players that doesn't blow up their cheeks while playing to not have hollow cheeks. But if you watch the video down below of Zinger(around 00:50), you will clearly see that he keeps his cheeks slim. Now try to explain how he is able to work his buccinators for several hours a day, and yet still has hollow cheeks. The buccinator-hypertrophy-hypothesis simply breaks down if you try to explain this according to it's predictions.

Link to Zinger playing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CE9A5djs4eU

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Posted : 05/05/2020 11:44 am
Azrael liked
Apollo
Reputable Member

While most are singers or public speakers, some of the case studies that VoiceGym reports are on wind instrument players. They categorize the buccinators as one of the muscles in group A (see VoiceGym Muscle Groups thread): 

"Any activity which demands maximum efficiency in breathing, rhythmic co-ordination and power needs to prioritise facial muscle group A. This produces the face shape of the successful runner, singer, wind player, etc."

They say a forward tongue position adversely shifts the balance to group B muscles including the masseters and temporalis. Presumably, so would chewing exercises like Mike Mew recommends. He insists we want to atrophy the buccinators and hypertrophy the masseters. I'm not sure who is correct, but I sometimes think Mew's big masseters look inharmonious in his videos. By the way, the embouchure for woodwind instruments with a reed mouthpiece like the clarinet, saxophone, oboe, etc. would be different than for flutes or for brass instrument mouthpieces like the trumpet, trombone, tuba, etc.

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Posted : 05/05/2020 12:55 pm
Loliboly liked
Loliboly
Estimable Member
Posted by: @apollo

While most are singers or public speakers, some of the case studies that VoiceGym reports are on woodwind players. They categorize the buccinators as one of the muscles in group A (see VoiceGym Muscle Groups thread): 

"Any activity which demands maximum efficiency in breathing, rhythmic co-ordination and power needs to prioritise facial muscle group A. This produces the face shape of the successful runner, singer, wind player, etc."

I take this sentiment, as well as the one in the other thread, to mean the buccinators somehow should be active and developed? I have yet to read the articles you provided before, but since it so relevant to this thread: Could you elaborate on this aspect of her philosophy? Here is the thread for those of you who haven't seen it: https://the-great-work.org/community/main-forum/voicegym-muscle-groups/#post-30542

They say a forward tongue position adversely shifts the balance to group B muscles including the masseters and temporalis. Presumably, so would chewing exercises like Mike Mew recommends. He insists we want to atrophy the buccinators and hypertrophy the masseters. I'm not sure who is correct, but I sometimes think Mew's big masseters look inharmonious in his videos.

While I still think masseters plays an important role, and I like Mike Mews jawline, I do agree his face isn't perfectly harmonious(although very good compared to the general population). But it seems to me he is rather somewhat lacking in the "inner u", than having to much of the "outer u". This is also in line with my current though that a well developed inner u(wide and high cheekbones) creates hollow cheeks as a side effect. Although his cheeks are somewhat hollow, they certainly don't seem to be his own(and the rest of ours) ideal.

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Posted : 05/05/2020 1:13 pm
Apollo liked
Apollo
Reputable Member
Posted by: @loliboly

I take this sentiment, as well as the one in the other thread, to mean the buccinators somehow should be active and developed? I have yet to read the articles you provided before, but since it so relevant to this thread: Could you elaborate on this aspect of her philosophy?

I take it the same way, but I've read through all of the articles on their publications page, and I'm still not totally clear on their position. The quote above is from the "Beyond Chewing" article, which offers a little more context:

"With contraction of Obicularis Oris in response to food entering the mouth, contraction of Buccinator will flatten the cheeks and pull the Pterygoid Raphe forward, reducing the oropharyngeal space and the danger of food accidentally passing into it. Buccinator has a role in both group A and group B.

Relaxation of Obicularis Oris changes the role of the Buccinator muscle (see Figure 2). The Pterygoid Raphe is pulled posteriorally, increasing the oropharyngeal space in order to facilitate swallowing, talking, singing and any greater demand on the breathing system. Any activity which demands maximum efficiency in breathing, rhythmic co-ordination and power needs to prioritise facial muscle group A. This produces the face shape of the successful runner, singer, wind player, etc. Gasping in air through the mouth always raises the hyoid bone and shortens the cervical spine, with its concomitant problems, as described by Alexander (1932). Cranial release, joint decompression, and head posture are all aided by strong rhythmic singing, which is supported by nose breathing."

I guess this means that activation of the buccinator is good in the back position but bad in the forward position? The figure is a little confusing because label "a" depicts activation of muscle group "b", while label "b" depicts activation of muscle group "a". The VoiceGym articles don't address the role of face muscles in cheek hollows, except to suggest that tipping the balance to group A muscles over group B muscles will improve facial form generally. One confounding variable is that I think obicularis oris is often engaged in at least some types of wind instrument embouchure, while it may be less active during singing or speaking.

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Posted : 05/05/2020 1:26 pm
Loliboly liked
Azrael
Estimable Member

Just watched some videos of Chet Baker, you seem to be right. He does have blown out cheeks most of the time when playing.

Nice.

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Posted : 05/05/2020 1:30 pm
Loliboly liked
Azrael
Estimable Member
Posted by: @loliboly

Remember that you had a suture split, which will have widened your face, thus giving room for your cheeks to collapse inwards.

I don't think any considerably large expansion happened despite the suture staying open for the past 3 months. But since the buccinator hypertrophy theory seems to be crumbling to nothing, I'm not sure what actually caused this slight hollowing. I need to take some time later to study this whole thing more deeply.

Posted by: @loliboly

And you recently told me that Mike Mew stated it takes around 1 years for the buccinators to atrophy. You are only 3-4 months in into your mewing development, which to me suggest proves the point I am trying to make: hollow cheeks is just a matter of bone structure and fat, but not about muscle usage.

It was John Mew, not Mike, but yes, you are right.

Bone structure more than the fat since I've seen obese people with pronounced features on their faces just like skinny and underweight people with sunken and recessed features.

I initially thought that the hollowing of cheeks I began seeing was because of the combined results of proper swallowing (and thus, buccinator atrophy) and cheekbone expansion, but now I guess it was only because of the expansion.

Great thread, nonetheless.

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Posted : 05/05/2020 1:46 pm
Loliboly liked
Shaku
Active Member

I don't agree with the premise. First let me say that I wouldn't put a lot of weight into the etymology of buccinators, as I'm sure many of the muscles where named very early in medical history before their function was understood so I'm sure some of them are misnamed because whoever named them was being speculative about their function.

I really don't see how the buccinators are used to blow. You can check this yourself quite easily, I think. Pinch your cheeks with your fingers, one finger from the inside another from the inside. Then smile. The part that's getting hard every-time you smile I think we can assume is either the actual buccinator or at least an important fiber cluster. Now try blowing (you'll have to seal your lips around one finger) and I think you'll see quite clearly that the buccinator remains relaxed regardless of how hard you blow.

It seems it's the muscles around the mouth that are creating the lip seal and that the buccinators are passive in this endeavour. Wikipedia mentions these functions for the buccinator:

Its purpose is to pull back the angle of the mouth and to flatten the cheek area, which aids in holding the cheek to the teeth during chewing. This action causes the muscle to keep food pushed back on the occlusal surface of the posterior teeth, as when a person chews. By keeping the food in the correct position when chewing, the buccinator assists the muscles of mastication.[4]

It aids whistling and smiling, and in neonates it is used to suckle.

There's no mention of blowing in there. Now, note "whistling" is mentioned. If you do the test I suggested above I think you will notice that the buccinator is indeed activated to aid in whistling. Now, this is interesting, do people who whistle a lot have puffy cheeks?

First I thought of an island in Spain where there's a unique whistling-based language. I checked some of the faces. They seem puffy to me, and I don't think these are faces with (severe) CFD.

Then I checked videos about professional whistling and there I also found some puffy cheeks.

My favourite piece of evidence here is the massive cheeks on the whistling world champion (Check the ted video to see them in movement, they are clearly massive buccinators in my opinion)

I'm even more certain now that Mew is right about this, although I was already pretty certain: can you justify why else babies need that much fat in the cheeks at that stage of development?

Sources:

Ted video with the whistling world champion: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zO-aCQ6xH-8

Whistling contest: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCzyQ2Rfj1c

Video about whistling language in the Gomera island: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0CIRCjoICA

 

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Posted : 05/05/2020 2:05 pm
Loliboly and Azrael liked
sinned
Estimable Member

@shaku

The fat cheeks of babies come from buccal fat pads, not enlarged cheek muscles, the buccal fat pads help with intraoral pressure and suckling because it keeps the cheek against the gums. Whether you're chewing or sucking the buccinator does mostly the same thing, the difference is in chewing the buccinators work to keep the food between the teeth, while in drinking/sucking it keeps to keep the cheeks against the teeth. Buccinators are not a muscle to avoid using, it's an important muscle for chewing, drinking, smiling, talking, and in expelling air like you would do with wind instruments.

https://www.thetrumpetblog.com/simplifying-the-trumpet-embouchure-part-2-what-facial-muscles-are-involved-when-playing-a-trumpet/

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Posted : 05/05/2020 2:56 pm
Loliboly liked
moemoe
Active Member

Personally I developed hollow cheeks by chewing. That's when I first discovered orthotropics in 2015. Orthotropics opened my eyes but my interest was on proper growth for children. I don't recall the benefits on adults being discussed at the time. Nonetheless I adopted two changes, the first being resting the tip of the tongue on the N-spot and the second chewing hard gum. I was aware my swallowing technique was not good but I did not improve it. That's how I developed hollow cheeks and strong masseter muscle which eventually faded away after stopping the hard gum. As a note I've had low body and face fat % for years.

M.

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Posted : 05/05/2020 3:15 pm
Loliboly liked
Shaku
Active Member

@sinned

You misunderstand my objection, I think. I understand that much of what we are looking at in the case of babies is fat (how much is fat and how much is muscle, I don't know but I was referring to the fat). Hence my question was:

can you justify why else babies need that much fat in the cheeks at that stage of development?

It was my assumption that such a significant amount of fat is there to support the energy needs of equally significant muscles. Muscles do favour taking energy from fat in nearby locations, so it made a lot of sense that evolution placed those deposits in there. This was just my speculation based on something that is pretty well understood in the sport sciences. (This is known as spot lipolysis, and do note that for the longest time it was thought that spot reduction is a myth, but according to the most recent science, it's real, you'll have to dig a bit for the most recent evidence of it).

In any case, I wasn't aware of that idea that they are structural padding, it's interesting, although I still much prefer my initial intuition that those are just conveniently placed fat deposits for spot lipolysis to serve a pair of buccinators that need to be very powerful for a baby. Do keep in mind that we just realised that spot lipolysis is real, so perhaps medicine will reevaluate the function of those deposits in the future.

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Posted : 05/05/2020 3:49 pm
Loliboly liked
Loliboly
Estimable Member

Posted by: @azrael

Just watched some videos of Chet Baker, you seem to be right. He does have blown out cheeks most of the time when playing.

Nice.

It certainly nice, if this then means all of us don't have to worry about buccinator hypertrophy! lol

Posted by: @azrael

Posted by: @loliboly

Remember that you had a suture split, which will have widened your face, thus giving room for your cheeks to collapse inwards.

I don't think any considerably large expansion happened despite the suture staying open for the past 3 months. But since the buccinator hypertrophy theory seems to be crumbling to nothing, I'm not sure what actually caused this slight hollowing. I need to take some time later to study this whole thing more deeply.

I guess this still is in line with the amount of hollowness you developed. If the expansion wasn't large, it makes sense that you only saw a slight increase of hollowness.

Posted by: @loliboly

And you recently told me that Mike Mew stated it takes around 1 years for the buccinators to atrophy. You are only 3-4 months in into your mewing development, which to me suggest proves the point I am trying to make: hollow cheeks is just a matter of bone structure and fat, but not about muscle usage.

It was John Mew, not Mike, but yes, you are right.

My bad. Thanks for pointing it out.

Bone structure more than the fat since I've seen obese people with pronounced features on their faces just like skinny and underweight people with sunken and recessed features.

I totally agree.

I initially thought that the hollowing of cheeks I began seeing was because of the combined results of proper swallowing (and thus, buccinator atrophy) and cheekbone expansion, but now I guess it was only because of the expansion.

Agree here as well.

Great thread, nonetheless.

Thanks! Lots of thanks to you for the discussion! 🙂

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Posted : 05/05/2020 5:45 pm
Azrael liked
Loliboly
Estimable Member
Posted by: @apollo
Posted by: @loliboly

I take this sentiment, as well as the one in the other thread, to mean the buccinators somehow should be active and developed? I have yet to read the articles you provided before, but since it so relevant to this thread: Could you elaborate on this aspect of her philosophy?

I take it the same way, but I've read through all of the articles on their publications page, and I'm still not totally clear on their position. The quote above is from the "Beyond Chewing" article, which offers a little more context:

"With contraction of Obicularis Oris in response to food entering the mouth, contraction of Buccinator will flatten the cheeks and pull the Pterygoid Raphe forward, reducing the oropharyngeal space and the danger of food accidentally passing into it. Buccinator has a role in both group A and group B.

Relaxation of Obicularis Oris changes the role of the Buccinator muscle (see Figure 2). The Pterygoid Raphe is pulled posteriorally, increasing the oropharyngeal space in order to facilitate swallowing, talking, singing and any greater demand on the breathing system. Any activity which demands maximum efficiency in breathing, rhythmic co-ordination and power needs to prioritise facial muscle group A. This produces the face shape of the successful runner, singer, wind player, etc. Gasping in air through the mouth always raises the hyoid bone and shortens the cervical spine, with its concomitant problems, as described by Alexander (1932). Cranial release, joint decompression, and head posture are all aided by strong rhythmic singing, which is supported by nose breathing."

I guess this means that activation of the buccinator is good in the back position but bad in the forward position? The figure is a little confusing because label "a" depicts activation of muscle group "b", while label "b" depicts activation of muscle group "a". The VoiceGym articles don't address the role of face muscles in cheek hollows, except to suggest that tipping the balance to group A muscles over group B muscles will improve facial form generally. One confounding variable is that I think obicularis oris is often engaged in at least some types of wind instrument embouchure, while it may be less active during singing or speaking.

I have to say that this is too far ahead of my current level. I will definitely study this closer, though. In the meantime, I am sure more people than me would be grateful if you had the time to give a simple summary of their idea(if that even is possible). In any case, thanks a lot for the input. It all seems very interesting! 

 

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Posted : 05/05/2020 5:50 pm
Loliboly
Estimable Member
Posted by: @shaku

I don't agree with the premise. First let me say that I wouldn't put a lot of weight into the etymology of buccinators, as I'm sure many of the muscles where named very early in medical history before their function was understood so I'm sure some of them are misnamed because whoever named them was being speculative about their function.

I really don't see how the buccinators are used to blow. You can check this yourself quite easily, I think. Pinch your cheeks with your fingers, one finger from the inside another from the inside. Then smile. The part that's getting hard every-time you smile I think we can assume is either the actual buccinator or at least an important fiber cluster. Now try blowing (you'll have to seal your lips around one finger) and I think you'll see quite clearly that the buccinator remains relaxed regardless of how hard you blow.

It seems it's the muscles around the mouth that are creating the lip seal and that the buccinators are passive in this endeavour. Wikipedia mentions these functions for the buccinator:

Its purpose is to pull back the angle of the mouth and to flatten the cheek area, which aids in holding the cheek to the teeth during chewing. This action causes the muscle to keep food pushed back on the occlusal surface of the posterior teeth, as when a person chews. By keeping the food in the correct position when chewing, the buccinator assists the muscles of mastication.[4]

It aids whistling and smiling, and in neonates it is used to suckle.

There's no mention of blowing in there. Now, note "whistling" is mentioned. If you do the test I suggested above I think you will notice that the buccinator is indeed activated to aid in whistling.

Hi! Thanks for joining the discussion!

You certainly bring up an important contention. However, today we know that the buccinators indeed are being used when playing various wind instruments. However, this is the premise you don't accept. You base this on your experience that you can't feel the buccinators activate while blowing air out from your mouth. This brings you to the conclusion that they don't activate when playing a wind instrument. But in that case, why do you accept the notion that whistling activates the buccinators? The act of whistling is, at its most basic, the act of blowing air out rom the mouth, and manipulating it with the lips. Now, I think the internal conflict in your argument should be apparent here already. The exact same thing you say don't activate the buccinators is the exact same thing you do when playing any wind instrument! I assume you wouldn't disagree with this. You will know this, and certainly have felt this in your cheeks, if you ever tried playing a wind instrument for just a few minutes. For a beginner, the muscles will tire out very quickly. On the opposite end, advanced wind players have really strong buccinators, since they have trained them for years while practicing their instruments. Thus, wind players shouldn't be able to have hollow cheeks! But the pictures above proves this to not be the case. It must then logically be determined that the size of the buccinators doesn't affect the hollowness of the cheeks.

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Posted : 05/05/2020 6:45 pm
Loliboly
Estimable Member
Posted by: @shaku

Now, this is interesting, do people who whistle a lot have puffy cheeks?

First I thought of an island in Spain where there's a unique whistling-based language. I checked some of the faces. They seem puffy to me, and I don't think these are faces with (severe) CFD.

Then I checked videos about professional whistling and there I also found some puffy cheeks.

My favourite piece of evidence here is the massive cheeks on the whistling world champion (Check the ted video to see them in movement, they are clearly massive buccinators in my opinion)

At the beginning of the research for this post, the faces of whistlers where among the first I examined. While it is true that all the examples you provided have chubby cheeks, there is a significant problem: They all seem to be at least somewhat overweight. The only exception may be the man in the first picture you provided, but that is only a maybe, as we cant see below his neck. The lady beside him may even help the case I am pushing: She very fat, made evident by the fat accumulation around her neck. But her face seem quite developed, with wide and very high cheekbones. Despite all the whistling and the fat, she still at least has some decent shape to her face. Now, there is no hollow cheeks to be seen, but they shouldn't be expected even on a well developed face covered by that amount of fat. Thus I think these pictures fails to prove your point. And remember what the whistler does: blow air, and using their buccinators. The same thing the wind player does. And since wind players evidently can have hollow cheeks, we can deduce that this should be possible also for whistlers.

I'm even more certain now that Mew is right about this, although I was already pretty certain: can you justify why else babies need that much fat in the cheeks at that stage of development?

This doesn't actually prove your point. It does rather the opposite, actually. If you followed my previous argument, it should then be obvious that babies has puffy cheeks, not because their buccinators are large, but because their bodies store a lot of fat there. Just because the buccinator needs energy, it doesn't mean that it will grow very large.

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Posted : 05/05/2020 6:54 pm
Loliboly
Estimable Member

@moemoe
That is interesting. Do you have any idea as why chewing made you develop hollow cheeks? Did you chew with a closed or open mouth? Also, did you have wide and/or high cheekbones prior to chewing?

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Posted : 05/05/2020 7:22 pm
moemoe
Active Member

Hi @loliboly

I have no ideia of the why but it seems clear to me that the changes I experienced were directly due to chewing (closed mouth). When I was a teen my cheek bones were quite prominent (My dad and my grandmother have also very salient cheekbones) but they have flattened out. I can't tell for sure but I assume it's likely due to my orthodontics treatment. They had flattened out prior to beginning chewing hard gum

M. 

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Posted : 06/05/2020 5:44 am
Loliboly liked
Shaku
Active Member
Posted by: @loliboly

Hi! Thanks for joining the discussion!

You certainly bring up an important contention. However, today we know that the buccinators indeed are being used when playing various wind instruments. However, this is the premise you don't accept. You base this on your experience that you can't feel the buccinators activate while blowing air out from your mouth. This brings you to the conclusion that they don't activate when playing a wind instrument.

No, I do mean what I said despite any apparent contradiction.

We must be more precise about what I'm talking about. I'm not challenging this assertion:

"Wind instrumentists sometimes use the buccinators."

I'm challenging the following assertion:

"The general act of blowing must necessarily engage the buccinators."

I'm certain there must be some player somewhere that engages the buccinators as part of their technique, being familiar with some instruments (not wind) I know that there's often completely different techniques that engage completely different muscles. Even in keyboard instruments where you would think everybody would be doing the same, there's people using some forearm muscles, others that use the whole arms more, etc.

I disagree that blowing must engage the buccinators. This is plainly seen if you just test blowing in a very unsophisticated manner as a child would attempt to play a trumpet, your cheeks will blow as a balloon. The fact that they extend means they can't be flexing at the same time.

But in that case, why do you accept the notion that whistling activates the buccinators?

First, this can be plainly experienced. Start blowing air by creating a very small opening in the mouth, let your buccinators relax and blow like a balloon. Then switch between just blowing and whistling while you rest your hand on your cheeks. I do feel the buccinators contract.

The act of whistling is, at its most basic, the act of blowing air out rom the mouth, and manipulating it with the lips.

Except it isn't. I can't whistle without placing my tongue in very specific positions. This may explain why the buccinators are being engaged, maybe they are providing support for the tongue in that situation and being exerted isometrically. I'm not saying this is the case I'm giving you an example to explain why you can't make that leap of logic.

Now, I think the internal conflict in your argument should be apparent here already. The exact same thing you say don't activate the buccinators is the exact same thing you do when playing any wind instrument!

There's no such conflict as I hope I've managed to convey already. There you are also misrepresenting what I'm saying. It's not "the thing I say don't activate the buccinators." I'm saying blowing doesn't *need* to activate the buccinators. Second, there's more to whistling than blowing. Third, there's can be anything else to any individual's musical technique than blowing.

You are conflating whistling and blowing, but if you want to defend that position that you need to explain, why do you think "whistling" mentioned at all when the functions of the buccinators are listed? "The buccinator is one of the first muscles that a human can control; the sucking reflex of a baby depends on it. Smiling, chewing, and whistling are all dependent upon it, and speech would be difficult and slurred without its proper function." Isn't it interesting that whistling is mentioned at all? Why do you think that is?

I assume you wouldn't disagree with this.

I do.

You will know this, and certainly have felt this in your cheeks, if you ever tried playing a wind instrument for just a few minutes. For a beginner, the muscles will tire out very quickly.

I completely disagree, if I can blow really hard by letting my buccinators relax I don't feel they are exerted in the slightest, other muscles are exerted. If I go out of my way to use the buccinators to maintain a certain shape I can manage to exert them. Do also consider how craniofacial dystrophy may play a role in this. If you have a very nice forward jaw perhaps the cheeks are more naturally tense and there's no need to contain them.

On the opposite end, advanced wind players have really strong buccinators, since they have trained them for years while practicing their instruments. Thus, wind players shouldn't be able to have hollow cheeks! But the pictures above proves this to not be the case. It must then logically be determined that the size of the buccinators doesn't affect the hollowness of the cheeks.

I completely disagree, the idea that wind players must have really strong buccinators is just your assumption and you haven't proven it. It could easily be the other way around, that they are remarkably weak for some of these players. For example this could happen due to the phenomenon of active or passive insufficiency that is very common in the field of orthopaedics, where my limited understanding is that a muscle is overworking and not allowing other muscle to do its job. This is just an example, I'm not saying this is a case, I'm trying to explain to you how you can't make that assumption.

You are making an awful lot of assumptions here and it's not very scientific. The first thing you should have done is try to falsify the premise at the most fundamental level. This is the first question to ask: "Can I blow with the buccinators relaxed?" Since the answer to that is yes, you need not go further, your idea is disproved. That doesn't mean there's not merit to the line of inquiry and you could end up finding out other things.

Anyways, here is a potentially interesting experience. You are probably familiar with the phenomenon where engaging a muscle for a long time will keep it engaged after the act, as seen with the experiment where you push with your arms for a while and then afterwards they become floaty. I submit to you that if buccinators are really engaged by blowing, if you blow really hard for a long time, your resting facial pose should become more smiley.

Also notice how you can suppress the buccinators activity (by moving your cheeks forward) and still blow just fine.

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Posted : 06/05/2020 6:20 am
Shaku
Active Member
Posted by: @loliboly
They all seem to be at least somewhat overweight.
Indeed. This is why I suggested you check the videos, specially the "world champion" where you can clearly see his cheeks contract like a muscle. Also consider that since we know that spot lipolysis is real both things could go together. The body could be putting more fat in there precisely because there's more muscle beneath.
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Posted : 06/05/2020 6:29 am
Loliboly
Estimable Member
Posted by: @shaku

No, I do mean what I said despite any apparent contradiction.

We must be more precise about what I'm talking about. I'm not challenging this assertion:

"Wind instrumentists sometimes use the buccinators."

I'm challenging the following assertion:

"The general act of blowing must necessarily engage the buccinators."

Okay. Just to not make you think I tried try to straw man you, this is what you did write: "I really don't see how the buccinators are used to blow."

I disagree that blowing must engage the buccinators. This is plainly seen if you just test blowing in a very unsophisticated manner as a child would attempt to play a trumpet, your cheeks will blow as a balloon. The fact that they extend means they can't be flexing at the same time.

Muscles are elastic and can still be extended while being engaged. Make a hard fist while bending your hand and see for your self. If the muscles of the forearm couldn’t extend while being engaged, this movement wouldn’t be possible to execute. To demonstrate this for the buccintors: Put your finger in your mouth, blow really hard, but don't let any air get out. You will feel that even though your cheeks blow up(due to the resistance to the air), that the buccinators will engage. Edit: I realised I misread your first post. It seems you don’t feel the buccinators during this exercise. I think we at least can agree it is funny that we used the same experiment to prove opposing views, haha. My assumption would be that maybe your buccinators are stronger than mine, or that I am maybe overly aware of mine.

Start blowing air by creating a very small opening in the mouth, let your buccinators relax and blow like a balloon. Then switch between just blowing and whistling while you rest your hand on your cheeks. I do feel the buccinators contract.

As stated above, it doesn’t matter if the cheeks blow up or stay flat. They will be active regardless. I can’t say why you don’t feel them when blowing up your cheeks. Perhaps you would need to work against more resistance, like when playing a wind instrument.

 

The act of whistling is, at its most basic, the act of blowing air out rom the mouth, and manipulating it with the lips.

Except it isn't. I can't whistle without placing my tongue in very specific positions. This may explain why the buccinators are being engaged, maybe they are providing support for the tongue in that situation and being exerted isometrically. I'm not saying this is the case I'm giving you an example to explain why you can't make that leap of logic.

It is correct that the tongue may affect the whistling. But it is not necessary to have a tongue to preform the most basic mechanics of whistling, since the tongue should in general just lie in a relaxed state at the floor of the mouth when whistling. Hence, the description is correct.

There's no such conflict as I hope I've managed to convey already. There you are also misrepresenting what I'm saying. It's not "the thing I say don't activate the buccinators."

I'm saying blowing doesn't *need* to activate the buccinators. Second, there's more to whistling than blowing. Third, there's can be anything else to any individual's musical technique than blowing.

You said "I really don't see how the buccinators are used to blow." Since this is in fact what one does when whistling, a contradiction arises. The example you gave to show that the buccinators doesn't engage is faulty as well, as pointed out above.

You are conflating whistling and blowing, but if you want to defend that position that you need to explain, why do you think "whistling" mentioned at all when the functions of the buccinators are listed? "The buccinator is one of the first muscles that a human can control; the sucking reflex of a baby depends on it. Smiling, chewing, and whistling are all dependent upon it, and speech would be difficult and slurred without its proper function." Isn't it interesting that whistling is mentioned at all? Why do you think that is?

Respectfully, I think this is starting to get absurd. Blowing is certainly not whistling, but whistling is impossible without blowing. Is it possible to whistle without blowing? I think it already should be obvious that the buccinators do engage when blowing or playing wind instruments. But if you don't buy my experiments, here is a link and a qute from the article:
https://www.kenhub.com/en/library/anatomy/buccinator-muscle

"This muscle is the main muscle of the cheek, that provides it with structure and tightness. It compresses the cheek against the molar teeth, which is important to keep the food bolus central in the oral cavity, and to prevent the cheeks from being bitten during mastication. In addition, the buccinator is the main muscle involved in playing wind instruments, as it expels air from the distended cheeks."

As it expels air from the distended cheeks. In other words, when blowing air out of your mouth.

 

I assume you wouldn't disagree with this.

I do.

I hope the contradiction I see has been made clear by now. If you still don't believe that blowing, playing wind instruments and whistling do use the buccinators, or you feel I don't get your point, please explain what it is I am getting wrong. I at least hope you see my point, so may be able to make me understand.

 

You will know this, and certainly have felt this in your cheeks, if you ever tried playing a wind instrument for just a few minutes. For a beginner, the muscles will tire out very quickly.

I completely disagree, if I can blow really hard by letting my buccinators relax I don't feel they are exerted in the slightest, other muscles are exerted. If I go out of my way to use the buccinators to maintain a certain shape I can manage to exert them. Do also consider how craniofacial dystrophy may play a role in this. If you have a very nice forward jaw perhaps the cheeks are more naturally tense and there's no need to contain them.

If you don't feel the buccinators, I guess you don't feel them. But you also said you have never played a wind instrument. Let me assure you, the resistance is much higher compared to just blowing hard out from your mouth against no resistance(or even ones finger). But anyways, I hope the linked I provided managed to persuade you. When it comes CFD, it don't see why it would make a difference. This seems rather to be an unsubstantiated assumption.

On the opposite end, advanced wind players have really strong buccinators, since they have trained them for years while practicing their instruments. Thus, wind players shouldn't be able to have hollow cheeks! But the pictures above proves this to not be the case. It must then logically be determined that the size of the buccinators doesn't affect the hollowness of the cheeks.

I completely disagree, the idea that wind players must have really strong buccinators is just your assumption and you haven't proven it. It could easily be the other way around, that they are remarkably weak for some of these players. For example this could happen due to the phenomenon of active or passive insufficiency that is very common in the field of orthopaedics, where my limited understanding is that a muscle is overworking and not allowing other muscle to do its job. This is just an example, I'm not saying this is a case, I'm trying to explain to you how you can't make that assumption.

I didn't just make an assumption. Since I know buccinators do get used when playing wind instruments(again, click on the link), it is obviously expected that wind players who work out their buccinators regularly will have stronger ones than those who don't. You wouldn't be able to play well with weak buccinators. Please read the article so provided

You are making an awful lot of assumptions here and it's not very scientific. The first thing you should have done is try to falsify the premise at the most fundamental level. This is the first question to ask: "Can I blow with the buccinators relaxed?" Since the answer to that is yes, you need not go further, your idea is disproved. That doesn't mean there's not merit to the line of inquiry and you could end up finding out other things.

Do you think the experiment you provided to prove your assertion could be called scientific? I certainly don’t think it is enough to falsify the started question.

Anyways, here is a potentially interesting experience. You are probably familiar with the phenomenon where engaging a muscle for a long time will keep it engaged after the act, as seen with the experiment where you push with your arms for a while and then afterwards they become floaty. I submit to you that if buccinators are really engaged by blowing, if you blow really hard for a long time, your resting facial pose should become more smiley.

I think it is safe to assume this is not case, since the pictures I provided doesn’t mirror this.

Also notice how you can suppress the buccinators activity (by moving your cheeks forward) and still blow just fine.

Maybe. But I don't think that will make they completely inactive. This technique for blowing would never work on a wind instrument, by the way.

ReplyQuote
Posted : 06/05/2020 9:36 am
Loliboly
Estimable Member
Posted by: @shaku
Posted by: @loliboly
They all seem to be at least somewhat overweight.
Indeed. This is why I suggested you check the videos, specially the "world champion" where you can clearly see his cheeks contract like a muscle. Also consider that since we know that spot lipolysis is real both things could go together. The body could be putting more fat in there precisely because there's more muscle beneath.

The guy it the video you talk about is still overweight. As I told you, I have watched a lot of whistlers. The reason I stopped was because I couldn't find any picture or video of someone that wasn't overweight.

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Posted : 06/05/2020 9:38 am
Loliboly
Estimable Member

@shaku

What do you think about this mans face? Pause right at the beginning of the video, before he starts whistling. He seems to have hollow cheeks, despite being somewhat overweight.

 

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=51nfpGY_AJk

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Posted : 06/05/2020 6:47 pm
Shaku
Active Member

It just occurred to me that looking at flute players may be a better idea. When playing flute you are doing something more akin to whistling and you may actually be using the buccinators. Flute folk look puffy in the cheeks to me, although I have found some exceptions, thoughts?

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Posted : 16/05/2020 3:38 pm
Shaku
Active Member

@loliboly

It doesn't convince me, for all we know this person could have perfect oral function and would have amazing model grade hollow cheekbones naturally, and whistling has left him with barely visible dimples. Looking at a person like that is very unscientific. Looking at people in general in a group to see if something is more prevalent to go about it, or if you find one subject with an extraordinary trait that is another thing that could be significant, you can't disprove a premise because one guy has a bit of a dimple in my opinion.

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Posted : 16/05/2020 3:44 pm
Loliboly
Estimable Member

@shaku

Did you read the link in my previous response? If not, I do encourage you to read it. Just to hammer this home: The buccinators do get used regardless of what wind instrument you play, as the action of expelling air from your mouth(blowing) is more or less the same for all of them. Just as when one is whistling. That was the reason I provided plenty of pictures of wind players(not just the whistler in my latest post), who despite having plausibly well developed buccinators(from playing their instruments a lot), still has hollow cheeks. I haven’t scientifically falsified Mews hypotheses. What you and me are engaging in here in this thread doesn’t meet the criteria of rigorous science at all. However, I have provided evidence showcasing that something with Mews hypothesis is wrong. It certainly doesn’t explain how all these anomalies, as you see them, arise.

 

Speaking of what people we chose to look at: If you chose too look at mostly overweight, probably recessed, flute players to strengthen yours/Mews case, you are failing to do precisely what you asked of me; trying to falsify the hypothesis. It seems you are rather cherry picking to confirm it. And you are not correcting for other factors that may explain their puffy cheeks(again, being overweight, suffering from CFD, etc.) Them playing the flute or whistling could just as easily not have anything to do with the appearance of their cheeks. As I think I have managed to make a case for. If flute players shouldn’t be expected to have hollow cheeks, why does Zac Zinger(guy in OP), who plays the flute(among many other wind instruments), still have them? Do you by now see why I am not convinced by Mews hypothesis?

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Posted : 17/05/2020 4:36 pm
bulkebro
Active Member

This does make sense to me, I have some pretty large retainers and when I don't wear them my cheeks look pretty much average.
But if I wear them they fill up so much of my mouth area and push it outwards that my cheeks can look model tier hollow.

Certainly I didn't atrophy my buccinators in the span of 10 seconds

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Posted : 29/05/2020 7:16 pm
Chriscross
New Member

Possibly these people playing instruments eventually reach a point where it doesnt affect growth at all beyond atrophy, for example how many buccinator mouth movement processes can add hypertrophy. Look at Matt stonie for example. It seems like he acheives atrophy by chewing and swallowing so quickly for the records. 

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Posted : 04/06/2020 9:19 pm