Massage has the power to heal, release tension, increase circulation, disperse stagnation, and drain the lymph. Like body massage, facial massage techniques involve knowledge of anatomy, and training. Some of the classical European facial massage movements we learn in school and love include, but are not limited to, are effleurage, petrissage, friction, tapotement and vibration.
Effleurage is the most basic massage movement. It is a form of massage involving a circular stroking movement made with the palm of the hand. Also referred to as gliding strokes, it is generally the first and last stroke used in facial massage and is used to introduce touch. It is also used as a linking movement by which the esthetician maintains contact with the client while smoothly transitioning between other movements, like petrissage and tapotement. The word effleurage derived from the French word for “touch lightly”.
Another classic European facial massage technique is Petrissage – kneading. Petrissage is derived from the French word petrir, which means ‘to knead’. It is generally used to have a deeper effect than effleurage, and includes kneading, picking up and squeezing. It is a motion where the skin and the underlying layer of facial muscles are lightly grasped with the thumb and the finger and lifted. The kneading motion squeezes, rolls or applies gentle pressure to stimulate the soft tissue of the face and increase circulation. In general, petrissage movements involve compressing soft tissues against each other and/or against the underlying bone.
Tapotement is a rhythmic percussion technique, most frequently administered with the tips of the fingers. Tapotement increases facial blood circulation, and helps to warm and soften the underlying tissue. The skin will feel warm to the touch and appear flushed.
Deep-rubbing movements utilizing the palms and fingers to apply pressure is known as the friction technique. Finger friction includes small circles made with the fingertips or with the thumb. Palm Friction includes large circles made with the palm.
As much as I love European massage, there is also a different technique I am very much fond of. Imagine a facial massage that can relieve aches and pains, and reduce inflammation in the entire body. Facial Reflexology pressure point massage is a wonderful treatment that stimulates the body and face’s reflex zones. Reflex zones can be found on virtually the entire surface of the body – feet, hands, irises of the eye, ears, abdomen, and nose (endonasal). The type of pressure point massage I would like to talk about is called Facial Reflexology. This ancient art goes back to TCM – Chinese Acupuncture and Dien’ Cham’, a Vietnamese Facial Reflexology method. This massage can be administered with the fingertips or with the ends of a pen for more precise pressure.
The face is a complex system of reflex zones and points. The basic rule is the right side of the face corresponds to the right side of the body, and the left corresponds to the left. There are over 500 points on the face, so when learning this technique it’s best to work with a chart. I recommend taking a course in Facial Reflexology to all skincare therapists. Even though it’s not taught in school as a fundamental technique, it’s a valuable investment in your post-graduate education that will make you a more well-rounded professional.