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The Art and Science of Facial Massage

By: Lydia Sarfati
Posted: March 26, 2009, from the April 2009 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
woman getting facial massage

page 5 of 6

Zygomaticus. Raises the lip, as in laughing

Lymphatic and nervous systems

The lymphatic system is a key in purification. It serves the role of a filter, removing waste so when it is said that massage helps to detoxify the skin, that is what it means. So often, estheticians have a difficult time explaining the importance of a good massage. Lymphatic massage boosts the immune system; helps ward off illness and increases vitality and health; improves the appearance of skin; reduces water retention from poor circulation or pregnancy; can help with pain; and promotes the body’s healing mechanisms.

The nervous system is divided into the peripheral nervous system and central nervous system. The sensory-somatic nervous system consists of 12 pairs of cranial nerves and 31 pairs of spinal nerves. The cranial nerves are sensory, motor and mixed.

An effective massage

When giving the perfect facial massage, hygiene is a must. Fingernails should be short and unpolished or finished with a clear lacquer, and teeth should be clean. No gum-chewing is allowed and hair should be tied back neatly. When giving a massage, your mind should be clear, your only thoughts should be of your client and you should do what you need to do beforehand in order to clear your mind. Take a few minutes and a few deep breaths before the massage. The client should have 100% of your focus.

The body temperature will drop as clients relax, so it is important to keep them warm. A duvet is thin, yet provides great warmth. Select a cream and adjust its temperature according the client’s energy. Choosing the right product for a facial massage is also very important. You may select a serum and anti-aging cream for a massage treating mature skin, or a more water-based cream for one addressing oily skin. I prefer to use emulsions for dry skin and normal to oily skin. You should be in touch with your client’s needs and preferences. A good massage includes not only the face, but the shoulders and décolleté, and it is important to have a thorough understanding of the areas you are massaging in order to give a truly effective massage.