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Massage Today
October, 2009, Vol. 9, Issue 10

Everyday Facial Acupressure

By Rita Woods, LMT

Facial massage focuses on muscle properties, while facial acupressure addresses many levels, including toning muscles, energy balance and flow, specific point remedies, general wellness, skin tone and circulation. Many meridians and reflex zones run through the face so when you affect points on the face, you are affecting deeper layers of greater complexity. That's why I combine both points and muscles in all of my face work. Today, I'm sharing a simple acupressure face routine that you can seamlessly incorporate into your regular massage session. It has two parts. One is used to relax and one to tone. Together, they constitute a good basic session for overall wellness.

This session is not intended to address specific health conditions even though you will be using specific points. Acupressure results may take five to 10 minutes to take effect. If you end with this session it's nice to save time for some last minute energy work or quiet time before the client jumps up and gets dressed. Sometimes you can just sit a few minutes, lightly touching the client. If you begin with this session, the client will experience the benefits while receiving the rest of their massage.

Tools

Your hands will always be your most valuable tools but there are a few utensils that you can use for detailed work. If you have big hands and fingers, you may not be able to reach all the points on the face. Precision on the face is important. Muscles are small and there are crooks and crannies you need to access. If your fingers can't do it, try these. A cocktail drink mixer. These are typically plastic but glass ones can be purchased. You have a larger end that is rounded and one end that is smaller, giving you great versatility. Stones that are is smooth and small enough at one end to get into detailed areas. These can all be cleaned and reused. You could also use a chop stick. This is longer and easier for some people to handle and control. Wooden ones cannot be properly cleaned, so you'll have to discard them after use. Just be sure to have smooth ends on all tools. It's best to first practice on yourself in front of a mirror. This way you can feel and adapt the pressure for each utensil. The face can be sensitive, so if you use a utensil, be sure to practice beforehand.

Technique

Everyday Facial Acupressure - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Acupressure techniques vary according to your desired result. For instance, if you are attempting to get rid of a headache, you might deeply massage a point for one to two minutes. For our purposes, it is suggested that you work the point for 12 to 15 back-and-forth sweeping movements or circular combinations, which should take a few seconds. Use the specific point as your intended center of work but include the local surrounding area as well. More details is noted for each point below. The pressure will vary according to its location on the face, so use enough pressure to activate the point but not so much as to cause pain. This will also vary according to the comfort level of the client. The point locations are from the book Facial Reflexology by Marie-France Muller, MD. I've simplified the numbering system for these specific examples (see Image) but more details are available in her book should you decide to pursue this in greater depth.

Relaxing Points

Disorders of the nervous system are the origins of all sickness and the cause of tiredness and tension. We begin the session by calming this system. The relaxing phase focuses mainly on the forehead and eyebrows. You probably won't need any tools other than your fingers. Your direction will be to work from top to bottom.

Point #1 calms the nervous system and soothes pain, (use horizontal movements of one-half to one inch in length).

Point #2 the arms and shoulders, relaxes the nervous system and combats insomnia (press along eyebrow medial to lateral).

Point # 3 calms the mind, reduces agitation and promotes mental balance (do not overstimulate this point as that could actually cause agitation). Don't stimulate this point if the client has low blood pressure.

Point #4 corresponds to the solar plexus and is an overall balance point. You will end each phase with point #4, as it also serves as a correction point. This point is located in the hollow in front of the ear and using a vertical movement is recommended. This point is always a good beginning and ending for all face work. It helps to regulate blood pressure and heartbeat. If you think you may have overstimulted an area, follow with this point to restore calm and balance. Working it with downward strokes will create peace, while working with upward stokes will tone and energize.

Toning Up

The toning phase allows for release of blocked energy and boosts energy stores. Liberating the energy will stimulate the life force, which will in turn revitalize the body and organs. Your direction for this phase is on the face is from the bottom toward the top. Working the points like you did in the beginning segment, continue stimulating the points with small sweeping movements.

The point marked as #5 works on the small intestines and Conception vessel. Stimulate this point vertically in a downward movement.

Point #6 increases energy and blood pressure (obviously, do not stimulate if the client has high blood pressure). It also brightens the mind. This point also increases uterine contractions, so don't use it on pregnant clients unless they are giving birth.

Point # 3 is used again as in the relaxing phase.

Point #7 is said to stimulate the chakras, brain and pituitary gland. It improves memory and clears the mind.

Point #8 frees circulation around the brain and soothes many issues related to the head.

Finally, finish with #4 as the overall balance.

The entire session takes only a couple of minutes, and I highly suggest you perform it on yourself everyday and incorporate it into your massage routine. Subtle shifts can be powerful.


Click here for more information about Rita Woods, LMT.

 

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