The benefits of facial massage
Have you ever wondered how massaging your face benefits your skin? Can you really massage wrinkles away? And can massaging the face improve your mood and general wellbeing? We're a curious bunch here at beautyheaven, so we decided to dig deep into the many benefits of facial massage.
Not only is facial massage a relaxing little luxury for you, it's a stress-melting treat for your skin. Emma Hobson, education manager at the International Dermal Institute, credits a professional facial massage with:
• Increasing the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the skin and muscles
• Stimulating the removal of waste products from skin tissues
• Invigorating the glandular activity of the skin
• Improving cellular activity
• Benefiting the texture of the complexion
"There are many facial massage techniques, including accupressure, aromatherapy pressure point, manual lymph drainage," highlights Hobson, "but the most popular is the classical European facial massage."
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The four classical facial massage movements
Effleurage involves light, even, stroking movements that prepare the tissue for deeper massage and link up other movements in the skincare routine. It stimulates superficial circulation, causing a slight increase in skin temperature, and helps shed outer layers of skin and loosen surface adhesions. It also promotes "a feeling of total body wellness," says Hobson.
Petrissage is characterised by compression (pressure) movements, using either the whole of the palm or just the pads of the thumbs and fingers. Movements like kneading, knuckling, rolling and squeezing increase blood and lymph flow, relax muscles and, as they help dislodge surface debris, leave the skin looking smooth, clear and fresh.
Tapotement uses percussive movements such as tapping, 'hacking' and cupping to stimulate superficial nerve endings. This causes temporary toning and tightening of the skin and improves blood flow as it alternately constricts and relaxes of blood vessels. "It also assists the removal of static lymph from the tissues," Hobson details.
Frictions can be used to help relieve sebum congestion. Massaging small circles with thumbs, fingers or palms, the therapist works to increase blood flow in a target area.
Why not ask your therapist to indulge you next time you check in for a facial?
How to give yourself a facial massage
Treat your skin to a facial massage when cleansing and moisturising – or when you're feeling a little stressed. "An easy movement to do at home is roll patting (a type of tapotement) just under the jaw line," advises Hobson. Try patting the flat of your fingers onto your face and rolling them forward before the next pat to help tone this sag-prone area of skin.
"You can also use palm frictions, where you squeeze the back of the neck with one hand, to help loosen tension," she says. "And small circular frictions of your own temples will help alleviate headaches."
Do you regularly give yourself a facial massage?