Advanced Facial Massage for Natural Lifting, Sculpting and Rejuvenation

Hi hi! If you can't tell from today's greeting, I am super excited for this blog. Today I'm talking about one of the parts of my job that I love the absolute most - facial massage. Most people think of this as the relaxing part of the facial, and I definitely pride myself on the relaxation factor of my face massages. But did you know there's more to it? Facial massage in general, has some amazing benefits - it stimulates circulation in the face encouraging cellular turnover and collagen production. It helps relax facial tension such as in the forehead or jaw, while also toning and lifting the skin. Think of it as yoga for your face. A talented facialist can do all of this using only her hands (and we'll talk about that too), I'm also excited to share about some new advanced techniques I've been trained on, as well as some of the cumulative benefits that can be achieved, using only holistic facial massage. As we age, many of us grow increasingly bothered by concerns such as sagging skin, lines and wrinkles, dull skin tone and puffiness around the eyes. Even before middle age, some of us experience these concerns due to factors like environment, sun damage and stress. The beauty industry is quick to ply us with the latest and greatest solutions to

these issues. Peels. Botox. Fillers. Etc. For the record, I'm not hating on those things if they make you feel beautiful. Some of my clients elect to use injectables and love them.

However, I have just as many (if not more) clients who tell me they would rather not go under the knife or the needle. Another sizable handful are on the fence, but hoping to stave it off for as long as possible. As luck would have it, my aforementioned obsession with facial massage has led me to stumble upon a more holistic approach to treating these concerns, using the opposite of the latest technology. The more I study and practice, the more value I observe in techniques such as Thai herbal poultice massage, Gua Sha or jade stone massage, manual lymphatic drainage and facial acupressure. These modalities can do magical things for the skin and the face, using only ancient wisdom. So let's talk about what these things are and why I love them so much! Thai Herbal Poultice I've already devoted a blog to the Thai Sculpting Facial, so I'll try not to be redundant. The herbal poultice (pictured above) is a small compress filled with organic herbs - lemongrass, turmeric, ginger, orange and bergamot oil - which is then heated up in a steamer. Once the poultice is warm, I use it to massage the face. The compress is rolled along your face's natural curvature and helps move stagnant lymph (the culprit behind things like puffy eyes and sinus pain). Using the principles of lymphatic massage, the technique helps lift, contour and sculpt almost like a temporary face lift. Fine lines and wrinkles are temporarily plumped out as well. My clients love the massage because it is incredibly relaxing. It can help with relieving jaw pain and other muscle tension. The results are temporary, but over time, cumulative treatments can train the tissues in the face, so that they develop more permanent muscle memory and stay lifted. The poultice and the herbs also help to calm the skin, detoxify impurities and smooth out the complexion. This is my favorite Before and After from when I first started practicing with the Thai Sculpting Massage. From just a single treatment, I can see big reduction in the appearance of wrinkles around the eyes, lessing sagging in the cheek/jaw area and a more youthful glow.

Gua Sha Gua Sha uses principles very similar to that of the herbal poultice, only with a much different tool. Gua Sha is a traditional Chinese massage modality that uses a small jade board to massage and manipulate the skin. A stroking motion is used to help break up blood stagnation and stimulate energy to the face. This then promotes lymph drainage and detoxification. Gua Sha tools are made of different varieties of gem stone including jade, agate and quartz. The stone comes in many shapes, but I was trained specifically with a tool called the Nefeli Jade Stone. (Pictured above.) The tool employs nine different points and sides to even more effectively treat the face. The tool is typically cool or cold and warms to the skin. It can also be heated and/or used in conjunction with the Thai Poultice for the ultimate treatment. (*coughcough* watch for it on the menu next month *coughcough*) Shameless plugs aside, I have see some pretty amazing things happen in just one treatment using the Gua Sha. Just check out the eye wrinkle reduction in this Before and After.

​​Other veteran estheticians report that Gua Sha can perform small miracles when done in a series to treat hyperpigmentation, acne scarring and other persistent skin issues. Their theory is that even things like acne and excess pigment are tied to stagnation. Creating movement and stimulation beneath the surface helps heal the skin from within. I look forward to treating my clients with a Gua Sha series to see these results for myself. Facial Acupressure By now many are familiar with acupuncture, which uses needles. Acupressure on the other hand, does not pierce the skin and uses only the pads of the fingertips to stimulate pressure points. Light facial acupressure can be incredibly relaxing but is designed to increase circulation in the face; lifting and toning the muscles as well as diminishing fine lines and wrinkles. I was skeptical of this treatment at first, but it was billed as an acupressure FACELIFT

MASSAGE, so of course I had to go. What I learned is that acupressure requires a little bit of patience, but can have big payoffs. Treatments work best when done in a series. Ten treatments in ten weeks is a pretty common recommendation from the experts, to achieve cumulative results. Ten treatments in five weeks is considered Holy Grail.

However, after completing a series, clients can typically get away with only a monthly maintenance visit and still seeing lasting results. Similar to the poultice or Gua Sha, the idea is that muscle memory is developed. I witnessed this firsthand at my training, working on a partner who had previously completed a series. Her facial muscles began responding almost immediately to my touch and we saw an instant lift in the area we worked on. I have yet to fully practice and explore the capabilities of facial acupressure since my initial training, but I am currently honing my technique, so that I can offer facial acupressure to my own clients in the near future. Manual Lymphatic Drainage You might have gathered by now that lymphatic drainage has a lot to do with creating change in the face. It is likely the basis of any facial massage you might have received from an esthetician or at a spa. One of the very first things I learned in esthetician school was a simple face massage routine. A blend of European lifting moves and basic

lymphatic drainage, that I still use to this day. Even just a quick ten minute face massage can be enough to stimulate circulation. Bloodflow to the face benefits the skin by bringing nourishment to the cells. It's a great, quick way to create a little extra glow. In fact, many European skin care companies have their own signature technique or routine to compliment the efficacy of their products. Beyond your basic facial massage, some estheticians specialize in what is called Vodder Manual Lymphatic Drainage. The method requires specific training but is essentially a gentle massage and manipulation of the face and neck to improve circulation and decrease inflammation. The benefits of which, can rejuvenate both the skin and the face. Estheticians who practice MLD say it can improve conditions such as acne, rosacea and premature aging because it improves overall circulation, which then helps the skin heal and turn over faster. As you could probably guess, getting certified in this technique is definitely #goals for me. ... So what else do you need to know? If all of this exciting news about holistic facial rejuvenation is blowing your mind and you feel overwhelmed by the options, you can relax a little. These massage modalities are mostly just different ways of doing the same thing. Most of them can be combined or used interchangeably in facials for an even more comprehensive approach. I was recently lucky enough to experience such a treatment from one of my teachers and I would describe my results as subtle in the best way possible. Unlike some facials, I didn't leave with my face still in a reactive red state. My skin was immediately calm, dewy and plump in only the right places. I noticed a big decrease in the depth of my own wrinkles and my skin seemed brighter overall. I was impressed enough to get to work on my own protocol inspired by the treatment and I can't wait for my clients to experience it. Whichever one you choose, you will reap positive benefits for your skin and overall facial appearance. At worst you stand to be incredibly relaxed from your treatment. At best you'll leave looking and feeling ten years younger. That's pretty much a win-win, right?

Still have questions or want to book one of these treatments? Email me at:


About the blog:

This is a blog about everyday skin health. As an esthetician I strive to provide comprehensive skin care advice and knowledge to anyone who wants to know more.

Read on and please don't hesitate to reach out! I love educating people about their skin and am always happy to respond to questions.

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