What is the Magic Mustache?

By Sarah Earles MS, LPC, NCC | January 26, 2024 

Magic mustache is a funny name for an intervention. It works, though! The “magic mustache” is a Trust-Based Relational Intervention technique used to help with self-regulation (Purvis, Cross, Dansereau, & Pariss, 2013). To give it a try, take your index finger and place it under your nose and above your lip to simulate a mustache. Then take five slow, deep breaths.

The magic mustache works by pressing on the parasympathetic pressure point in the middle of the upper lip (Show Hope, 2022a). The parasympathetic nervous system is the bodily system that controls relaxation, as well as other functions (Wendt, 2022). It is to this system that this intervention physically appeals. In moments of heightened emotion or bodily dysregulation, the magic mustache helps with calming and regulating.

Magic mustache is a form of playful engagement as well. Playful engagement lights up the “fun” pathway between adult and child (Nurturing Change, 2021). It can help relieve both parent and child stress, increase felt safety, improve learning, and facilitate healthy bonding (Show Hope, 2022b). It can help correct nonpreferred behaviors without enacting harsh consequences.

Magic mustache is not the only intervention for helping calm a dysregulated child, but it can be a tool in the tool box. Try using it yourself, or with your child. It might be fun!

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Magic mustache is a funny name for an intervention. It works, though! The “magic mustache” is a Trust-Based Relational Intervention technique used to help with self-regulation (Purvis, Cross, Dansereau, & Pariss, 2013). To give it a try, take your index finger and place it under your nose and above your lip to simulate a mustache. Then take five slow, deep breaths.

The magic mustache works by pressing on the parasympathetic pressure point in the middle of the upper lip (Show Hope, 2022a). The parasympathetic nervous system is the bodily system that controls relaxation, as well as other functions (Wendt, 2022). It is to this system that this intervention physically appeals. In moments of heightened emotion or bodily dysregulation, the magic mustache helps with calming and regulating.

Magic mustache is a form of playful engagement as well. Playful engagement lights up the “fun” pathway between adult and child (Nurturing Change, 2021). It can help relieve both parent and child stress, increase felt safety, improve learning, and facilitate healthy bonding (Show Hope, 2022b). It can help correct nonpreferred behaviors without enacting harsh consequences.

Magic mustache is not the only intervention for helping calm a dysregulated child, but it can be a tool in the tool box. Try using it yourself, or with your child. It might be fun!

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References

Nurturing Change. (2021, April 17). The power of playful engagement. https://nurturing-change.org/blog/f/the-power-of-playful-engagement

Purvis, K. B., Cross, D. R., Dansereau, D. F., & Parris, S. R. (2013). Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI): A systemic approach to complex developmental trauma. Child & youth services34(4), 360–386. https://doi.org/10.1080/0145935X.2013.859906

Show Hope. (2022a, January 10). Understanding TBRI correcting principles. https://showhope.org/2022/01/10/understanding-tbri-correcting-principles/

Show Hope. (2022, September 29). TBRI correcting principles: Understanding the IDEAL Response. https://showhope.org/2022/09/29/tbri-correcting-principles-understanding-the-ideal-response/

Wendt, T. (2022, October 13). Parasympathetic nervous system: What to know. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/brain/parasympathetic-nervous-system-what-to-know

References

Nurturing Change. (2021, April 17). The power of playful engagement. https://nurturing-change.org/blog/f/the-power-of-playful-engagement

Purvis, K. B., Cross, D. R., Dansereau, D. F., & Parris, S. R. (2013). Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI): A systemic approach to complex developmental trauma. Child & youth services34(4), 360–386. https://doi.org/10.1080/0145935X.2013. 859906

Show Hope. (2022a, January 10). Understanding TBRI correcting principles. https://showhope.org/2022/01/10/ understanding-tbri-correcting-principles/

Show Hope. (2022, September 29). TBRI correcting principles: Understanding the IDEAL Response. https://showhope.org/2022/09/29/tbri-correcting-principles-understanding-the-ideal-response/

Wendt, T. (2022, October 13). Parasympathetic nervous system: What to know. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/brain/ parasympathetic-nervous-system-what-to-know