“Keep your face always toward the sunshine - and shadows will fall behind you.”
What My Clients Say
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard one of my clients say the following, either before or after I’ve massaged their face:
“I had no idea how relaxing it is to have my face massaged.”
“I think the scalp massage is my favorite part.”
“I feel like I could just drift right off to sleep.”
I feel the exact same way. There’s something so nurturing about having my face massaged. Even though we touch our faces all the time, in many ways, the face is a very personal, even vulnerable area. We don’t normally allow our face to be touched by anyone, except perhaps our “pets” (human and/or furry friends, as the case may be).
But when someone you trust touches your face in a meaningful way, that emotional barrier is somehow lifted, allowing you to “let go” and sink more deeply into the relaxed state.
When I ask my clients where they hold their tension, they usually say the back, neck, shoulders, or hips. Almost no one mentions the face. And yet, many people hold A LOT of tension in their face (and head) without even being aware of it. (Yes, I can feel it.) 😃
Face and head tension can manifest in many ways:
Headaches and Migraines
Bruxism (teeth grinding and/or clenching)
TMJ (jaw) disorders
Many dentists, including my own, have reported a surge in bruxism since the pandemic began possibly due to increased stress. I myself am a lifelong teeth grinder and migraineur. For years I passed them both off as inconsequential–just something I thought I had to live with. But now I always ask my massage therapist to spend extra time on my face and head (including the ears) and it really helps.
Using acupressure to release tension in the head and face affects the entire body. These acupoints (i.e. pressure points) reach a deeper level, one that facilitates an internal shift in your core. Not only does the extra time on these areas help me manage my migraine symptoms and bruxism, but I always leave the session with a kind of serenity surrounding me–like I’m inside my own giant bubble.
2,000 Points of Light
As many of you know, acupressure is my medium. Occasionally, a client will ask: “What are you thinking about as you’re working on me?” While it’s true that my mind sometimes drifts as I work (just like any human being), I do my best to focus on being totally present and grounded. One basic tenet I learned in massage school has stayed with me all these years:
Embody Positive Intention
I think it makes a big difference, not only in my practice but also in Life.
I like to imagine that every time I press an acupoint on someone’s body, a tiny point of light opens up in them. I believe healing energy works that way. When I send positive healing intention to a particular acupoint, that light goes into my client and then returns back to me like a sacred loop. In this way, a synergy occurs whereby I too receive healing energy.
There are over two thousand acupressure points on the body and one hundred or so on the head, face, and ears alone. It’s almost mystical how a specific point on your body, when pressed, can have such a profound impact not only on that area but on all the bodily systems. It makes intuitive sense to me that the physical, mental, emotional, and even spiritual dimensions of our bodies are all interdependent. As I’ve said many times:
The Power of Human Touch is Infinite!
Fortunately, with complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) finally gaining a foothold in mainstream medicine, I believe more people are turning to modalities like acupressure and massage therapy to “complement” their existing health regimens.
It’s not uncommon for a client to say: “Wow, I can feel that all the way down to my toes,” when I press a particular acupoint on the back of the head.
Massage My Face!
Photo by KoolShooters
I hope you all will forgive my snafu. A few weeks ago I sent out an announcement introducing some new treatments for the Summer. My first new treatment, Nervous System Reset, has been a great success. This acupressure protocol, coupled with sound therapy, is very helpful for those who suffer from anxiety, long-term stress, and other types of nervous system dysregulation.
But my second new treatment, Facial Rejuvenation Massage with Jade Roller and Gua Sha Stone, didn’t feel quite right when I began practicing on friends and family. It just didn’t feel “organic” to the way I work. As I began using these tools, my higher mind kept saying: “Why are you using these tools, Robin? You don’t need them. Your hands and fingers are the only tools you need for this treatment.” So, I put them aside and just focussed on what I do best.
The benefits of Massage My Face!:
Promotes oxygen and blood flow to the skin
Stimulates muscle tone
Releases muscle tension
Increases lymphatic drainage and collagen production
Creates a brighter skin tone and appearance
In addition to the face, this treatment includes the head and scalp, ears, neck, and décolleté (the upper chest and shoulders), as some of the Master Acupoints are located in these areas.
This treatment helps reduce the symptoms of the conditions mentioned at the beginning of the blog and includes these benefits as well:
Reduces anxiety and stress
Improves focus and clarity
Removes toxins and enhances lymphatic drainage
Elevates the mood
Stimulates the nervous system to release endorphins
Releases muscle tension
What to Expect
Massage My Face! is a 30-minute treatment.
The client disrobes from the waist up and lays face up on the table. I will then cleanse the face, neck, and décolleté with a warm towel to remove any excess oils, sweat, and dead skin cells.
I begin with a neck and décolleté massage, paying special attention to important acupoints and muscle tension in these areas (much like a regular massage). I will then move on to the face.
My preferred lubricant for the face is a light, hypoallergenic lotion with a few drops of rosehip oil. Rosehip oil contains vitamins C and E which are rich in antioxidants and help boost collagen production in the face.
In addition to lightly pressing and holding the acupoints, I include other therapeutic techniques like light sweeping along the contours, gentle stroking and gliding, kneading the temples and jaw muscles, and light tapping (among others). I then move to the ears and scalp.
Both the ears and the scalp contain tons of nerve endings. In fact, scalp massage not only feels fantastic, but it also helps nourish and strengthen the hair follicles promoting new hair growth and increased thickness.
The ears and scalp combo is a great way to end this treatment. Because of all the nerve endings, stimulating these areas results in what I like to call the “butterfly effect”–a kind of fluttering or shimmering sensation that travels all over the body.
As I mentioned before, you leave the session feeling like you’re in a giant, serene bubble.
I hope you’ll try this new treatment and let me know what you think.
In the meantime, stay tuned for my next Summer treatment, Cool Therapy Massage, starting at the end of July to combat the dog days of Summer.
Sohn, Emily. “In these trying times, dentists are seeing more people with teeth-grinding and jaw clenching – a.k.a. Bruxism.” The Washington Post. Sept. 12, 2020.
Monson, Elizabeth. Arney, Diane. Benham, Beth. Bird, Rebekah. Elias, Erika. Linden, Kami. McCord, Kimberly. Miller, Cathy. Miller, Tammy. Ritter, Lori. Waggy, Deanna. “Beyond Pills: Acupressure Impact on Self-Rated Pain and Anxiety Scores.” Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. National Library of Medicine - PubMed Central. May 9, 2019.
Complementary and Alternative Medicine. National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. June 12, 2023.
Piyush Mehta. Vishwas Dhapte. Shivajirao Kada. Vividha Dapte. “Contemporary acupressure therapy: Adroit care for painless recovery of therapeutic ailments.” Elsevier Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine. National Library of Medicine - PubMed Central. April 2017.
Koyama, Taro. Kobayashi, Kazuhiro. Hama, Takanori. Murakami, Kasumi. Ogawa, Rei. “Standardized Scalp Massage Results in Increased Hair Thickness by Inducing Stretching Forces to Dermal Papilla Cells in Subcutaneous Tissue.” Eplasty. National Library of Medicine - PubMed Central. Jan. 25, 2016.