If you have ever had a facial you’ll know that the massage is one of the best parts. Who knew that your eyebrows held such tension? That your jaw could feel so much more relaxed after a few minutes under the magic fingers of a therapist?
The truth is that massage is just as great for your face as it is for the rest of your body. And the best part is that you can quite easily do it yourself.
What is it about massage that feels so amazing?
In physiological terms, the manipulation of your skin and muscles has two major effects. Firstly, it increases the circulation of your blood and lymph. Secondly, soft tissues (such as muscle, connective tissue, ligaments and tendons) are relaxed and returned to their normal resting state which can release tightened or pinched nerves and promote healing in damaged areas.
Medical studies have suggested that the short term pleasure (and sometimes a little pain) associated with massage can promote long term muscle relaxation, which results in reduced pain, improved moods and far better sleep.
FACIAL MASSAGE - INTERNAL BENEFITS
Just like the rest of your body, your face is full of nerves and pressure points, so facial massage doesn't just feel good; it helps relax your entire head and body and can also be great for your skin.
According to a study by the User Science Institute, facial massage can improve the mood and lower anxiety levels. Gentle massage can reduce headaches associated with the tight muscles across the forehead and brow, as well as those around a jaw that has been clenched in stress.
Facial massage can also help relieve allergy and sinus symptoms. Gently massaging around the nose and eyes can improve puffiness and drainage for those who suffer during the spring pollen season. The lymphatic vessels are also stimulated during this massage and, as we have several lymph nodes around the chin, jawline and neck, a facial massage can get these lymphs flowing freely. This allows environmental and stress related toxins to be eliminated from the body more quickly.
FACIAL MASSAGE - EXTERNAL BENEFITS
Stimulating the skin and muscles of the face brings blood flow, which brings oxygen, which is anti-aging skincare from within.
More blood also means more collagen production and in case you’ve forgotten exactly what collagen does – it is the protein that ensures the cohesion, elasticity and regeneration of the skin. Collagen is the glue that holds us together and as we age, it is not produced as effectively, so anything that gets collagen production going is going to be great for maintaining youthful skin.
Who has time for facial massage?
You do. You really do!
Morning and/or night, when you use your oil or moisturiser, apply it with a short massage routine. It might take less than a minute, or you might like to do a longer massage once a week. This will double the benefits of your skincare and put you in the right mood either for your day or bedtime.
But what do I even do? I can’t just rub my own face!
Sure you can! To encourage blood flow and lymphatic drainage, massage your face in upwards and outwards motions. Be firm, but always be gentle, never tugging or pulling on your skin. Most of the time you will be massaging upwards and outwards, but when you reach the side of your face and neck, work gently downwards towards the lymph nodes in your neck.
If you really need some help, take a moment to look online for some demonstrations you can follow. One great example is the traditional Japanese Tanaka massage which places special emphasis on lymphatic drainage. This is great for puffiness and you can follow along a simple video demonstration here.
Whatever you do, keep it simple and gentle and, since we're talking about vigorously rubbing oils into your skin, be sure you're using only the highest quality natural and organic products.
Try massaging your face once a day for a week or so and see what sort of a visible difference it actually makes. You'll likely find, along with feeling more relaxed around the eyes and jaw, you will be less puffy and have plumper looking skin.
Feature Image: Hayley Lawrence