Oh yes. Even the most zenned out among us have found themselves frowning from time to time, or struggled through a hectic schedule to end the day with a clenched jaw or a headache! We may not always realise how much tension we hold in our facial muscles… and how wonderful it is to have this tension relieved.
The face has no fewer than 42 muscles, all 12 meridian channels of the body can be accessed via the face, the facial nerve has over 10,000 neurons of which 7000 control facial expression and there are 6 lymph nodes that filter and clean the facial lymphatic fluid of toxins, germs and destroy foreign cells such as cancer.
That means that not only will a professional facial massage relieve muscular and nervous stress, the right moves can also energise and rebalance Chi, cleanse the upper dermis of toxic build-up, brighten dull skin – and if you add the benefits of aromatherapy, hydrating lotions and even music, you take it to yet another level.
So can you do any of this to yourself? Of course!
As you can imagine, there’s a multitude of methods and teachings out there – so here’s the basic low-down on some simple moves that will help melt that stress away – in just 10 minutes. Make sure your hands and face are thoroughly clean first and ideally use a massage product so your fingers will glide on the skin and not pull it. Breathe deeply and let yourself relax…
The “Shampoo” Soother (2 mins)
A move often used in Indian Head Massage, simply use your fingers to massage all over your scalp, as if shampooing your hair – but nice and slow. Press firmly enough to feel your scalp moving and make sure you cover the areas around the ears, temples and back of the neck where a lot of tension is stored. If your hair is long enough, also pull it firmly as you go to encourage blood flow.
The Brow-Buster (2 mins)
Using the index or middle finger of each hand, place both fingers in the centre of your forehead, one higher up the forehead than the other. Press firmly, then simply slide the lower finger and higher finger away from each other towards the ears and then swap their positions (high to low and low to high) in a zig-zag movement. Repeat these zig-zags all over the forehead, especially in the “frown zone”. Keep it nice and slow.
Eye Socket Pinch (2 mins).
Use the thumb and middle finger of each hand and literally pinch the skin whilst pressing down all around the eye socket. Avoid the delicate skin immediately around the eyes. Start between the brows and slowly and firmly pinch until you have a pressure you are comfortable with. Move around the eyebrows, pinching as you go – and underneath the eyes too. Repeat the circuit for 2 mins and finish off with some slow, smooth circles around the eye sockets, just using your middle finger.
Jaw Dropper (1 min).
Using all of your fingers on both hands like paddles, make broad, circular sweeps along the jaw line from the ears to the chin and back again. Massage over the cheeks and jowl areas too to get rid of any tension and encourage blood flow.
Temple Touch (2 mins).
We all know this one, because it does work – and quickly. Find the deepest point in the depression of the temples. Place two fingers on this and simply press firmly for 2 minutes. You can use slow, circular moves here if you prefer. Focus on your breathing and relax.
Ear Massage and Pull (1 min).
Using the thumb and index finger of both hands, slowly and gently massage along the outer rim of the ear from lobe to top and back again – pulling the ear gently away from the head at the same time. To finish, pull the ear lobe down and away from the face and hold for 30 seconds.
Once completed, drop your hands and arms into your lap if seated or by your sides if lying down and relax for a few moments.