Quick, think of a treatment where you get relief from jaw, sinus and scar tissue pain, and come away with a glowing complexion all at once. A facial massage can offer all that and more! Facial massages, might sound simple, but they can have major rewards when done correctly. Using specialized techniques and tools, a massage therapist stimulates pressure points on the face, neck, and shoulders to provide pain and stress relief, relaxation, skin rejuvenation and more, helping you look and feel better! Read on to learn about the many benefits of facial massage.

Types of facial massage 

There are several different facial massage types and techniques that you can do on your own or with a professional.

Types of facial massage include:

  • lymphatic drainage
  • reflexology
  • shiatsu
  • gua sha
  • Swedish
  • remedial
  • sinus
  • acupressure

Facial massage techniques include:

  • cupping
  • digital or knuckle kneading
  • folding
  • effleurage
  • vibrations
  • tapping
  • Jacquet pinching

Purported benefits 

Read on to learn what some of the research and anecdotal evidence has to say about the benefits of facial massage.

1. Anti-aging and wrinkles

One of the main benefits of facial massage is its ability to improve the overall appearance of skin.

A small 2017 study examined the effectiveness of facial massage that included a stimulating massage device. Participants used an anti-aging device and cream on their face and neck for 8 weeks. The effects of the cream were enhanced when used with the facial massage. Improvements were seen in wrinkles, skin sagging, and texture.

Researchers also looked at the effects of facial massage on ex vivo skin explants, or samples. For 10 days, the skin samples were massaged using an anti-aging device twice a day for 1 minute. Compared with untreated skin explants, the device caused higher rates of expression in dermal proteins, which had an anti-aging effect on the skin.

2. Sinus pressure

As long as it’s not an infectious case or during an acute stage of sinusitis, you can use massage to relieve sinus pressure, discomfort, and congestion.

Sinus massage may also help promote the drainage of mucus, alleviate headaches, and boost circulation. More in-depth scientific studies are needed to confirm and expand on the effects of sinus pressure massage.

3. Acne

Stimulating the skin through massage may help promote blood circulation and reduce the appearance of acne. Specific research that provides evidence of facial massage in improving acne is limited.

Some people swear by doing an olive oil massage to treat acne. Results vary, so if it’s something you’re interested in trying, test it out on a small area before massaging your entire face.

Don’t be too aggressive in your approach. Avoid any harsh motions or exfoliants, especially in sensitive areas.

4. TMJ

People who have temporomandibular joint (TMJ) conditions may experience discomfort in the jaw or face. This can include headache, earache, or lockjaw.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, trigger point massage may help alleviate tight, inflamed, or painful jaw muscles. This discomfort may be due to chewing, jaw clenching, or teeth grinding.

Massage to relieve symptoms of TMJ may be especially effective when combined with jaw exercises.

5. Glowing skin

Facial massage may be just the ticket if you want bright, glowing skin. Research from 2002 found that 59 percent of women who had a facial massage reported a feeling of freshness and rejuvenation.

About 54 percent reported supple skin, while 50 percent experienced skin tightening. Plenty of anecdotal evidence suggests that stimulating your facial muscles can help tighten skin, relieve tight muscles, and boost circulation.

6. Skin blood flow

Using a facial massage roller has a positive effect on skin blood flow, which may help improve the appearance of skin.

According to a small 2018 study, people who had a 5-minute facial with a massage roller had increased blood flow to the area for at least 10 minutes after the massage. After 5 weeks of massage, blood flow response to heat was significantly improved.

7. Facial rejuvenation

Facial massages can help relieve tension while enhancing relaxation and skin health.

Research from 2018 points to the effectiveness of facial massage with a Pao device in encouraging facial rejuvenation. The facial massage exercise device was shown to boost facial muscle thickness and cross-sectional area in women who used the device for 30 seconds, twice a day for 8 weeks.

8. Manage scar tissue

If you have a facial scar that’s in the healing process, massage can be greatly beneficial. Massaging the scar tissue and surrounding areas may help increase blood flow, loosen up nearby tissues, and flatten bumps.

Facial massage may also help relieve symptoms such as pain, itchiness, and tenderness. Researchers in 2014 found that massage therapy was effective in reducing pain and itchy skin while improving the appearance of raised scars from burns.

How to do it at home 

For minor discomfort and relaxation you can give yourself a facial massage in the comfort of your home. Before beginning, clean your face and hands. Use a small amount of serum, oil, or cleansing balm so your fingers glide and roll over your skin easily. You can also use the surface of your palm.

Whether you have 5 minutes or an entire hour, you can put together your favorite elements to create an individualized facial massage routine. Repeat each stroke five times or focus on a specific area for 20 to 30 seconds. Use gentle but firm pressure.

There are several techniques you can use. Below are a few you can use to create your routine:

  • Use a circular motion to rub your fingers into your temples.
  • Use your palms and fingertips to massage the sides of your face, starting at your chin and moving up toward your forehead. Then slide your hands back down.
  • Press and glide your ring fingers into your brow bone. Move from the inner to the outer corner. Then do the same movement underneath your eyes.
  • Using your thumb and first finger, start at the outer corners of your eyebrows. Gently pinch your eyebrows as you move to the inner corner.
  • Press your fingers into the center of your brows. Glide them up toward your hairline. Then move your fingers toward your temples.
  • Press down firmly on the space between your eyebrows for a few seconds. Then continue pressing as you make clockwise and counterclockwise movements.
  • Use your index and middle fingers to press under your cheekbones. Start at the center of your face and move toward your temples.
  • For a stronger effect, use your knuckles to press into your face. Start at your nose and move them across your cheeks to your ears.
  • Use your thumb and first two fingers to pinch the center of your chin. Pinch the skin as you move toward your ears.
  • Press into your jaw as you move your fingers from the outside of your jaw toward your chin.
  • Use a circular motion to massage the area under your earlobes.
  • Use the outside of your pinky fingers to press into your neck, starting at the top and moving downward.
  • Use your ring finger to firmly press into the inner brow, gliding toward your outer brow.
  • Use your fingertips to gently tap over all the areas of your face. Then gently pinch the fleshy areas of skin.
  • Apply acupressure to facial pressure points or sinus pressure points.

When to see a professional

While doing a facial massage on yourself may be more cost effective, it may not provide the same therapeutic results as with a professional. To address more specific concerns, including acne, TMJ, or scar reduction it’s recommended that you see a doctor or massage therapist for a facial massage.

A professional will have the skill and expertise to tailor the facial massage to your specific needs. They can also recommend any additional treatments.

The bottom line

Facial massages are a wonderful way to give yourself some healing and rejuvenating TLC while treating specific concerns. Enjoy the process of discovery as you learn to do facial massage on your own or have regular professional treatments.

Follow up a facial massage with any products that help improve your skin’s condition. For beautiful, glowing skin, stay healthy by giving yourself plenty of time to rest and relax, following a healthy diet, and being active.

Please note that any advice in this article doesn’t replace personalized medical advice from a professional.

At Evolve our RMT, Nancy Na is trained and experienced in treating TMJ and sinus issues. Email us at info@evolvevancouver.ca to book an appointment with Nancy.