Facial massage benefits the body by increasing circulation, improving skin elasticity, toning and firming the skin and underlying muscles and generally improving the general health of the face. This type of massage can be performed completely as a stand-alone service provided by a trained practitioner or provided within full-body massage treatments. Regular facial massage is a relaxing and healthy adjunct to add to a well-being regimen.
Effleurage is the light and continuous motion of the fingers and palms over facial skin. This massage stroke is useful to relaxe the mind and body, improve circulation and is the basis for all relaxation styles of massage. Effleurage performed on the face is rhythmic and smooth, employing the pads of the fingers or palms of the hands.
Petrissage is a kneading motion where the skin and the underlying layer of facial muscles are lightly grasped and lifted. The kneading motion squeezes, rolls or applies gentle pressure to stimulate the soft tissue of the face and increase circulation. Movements should always be firm, yet gentle. Petrissage is often performed over more fleshy areas of the face, such as the cheeks.
Tapotement is a stimulating technique that is characterized by a tapping, cupping or chopping type of motion performed with the hands. For facial massage, finger tip tapping is the most gentle form of tapotement to use. Using the finger tip pads to lightly and rhythmically tap over the forehead, cheeks and chin can stimulate the skin, improve circulation and reduce puffiness.
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- Milady's Theory and Practice of Therapeutic Massage, 3rd Edition: Mark F. Beck: 1999.
Leigh White currently owns her own business as a licensed massage therapist. She has been freelance writing for the past eight years, professionally and for a volunteer organization, in many areas, with an emphasis on natural health and alternative medicine.