A Luxurious Face Massage Routine
The following is an excerpt from the Massage Mastery Online digital textbook, Spa Bodywork: A Guide for Massage Professionals.
While clients are “processing” in treatment products like mud or seaweed, we’ll provide a face massage and foot massage to enhance the client’s enjoyment of the session. Sometimes clients don’t want their face massaged or they are wearing makeup. Give clients the option to remove their makeup before the session if they wish to have their face massaged. Clients should also remove dangling earrings so we don’t accidentally snag them during face massage.
Rich emollient face creams or whipped shea butter are perfect for face massage. We won’t use typical massage oil, massage cream or massage gel as these products leave a film on the skin and may clog pores. You can also choose a water-based face gel if the client has oily skin.
Remember to sanitize your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer directly before you begin the face massage. This will prevent any microbes that were picked up on the body or in the treatment room from being transferred to the delicate facial skin and will ensure that your hands smell clean to the client.
Avoid getting face cream in the client’s hair if possible. You may wish to drape the client’s hair to protect it using a simple hair drape as described in the topic on spa draping.
Practice each of the techniques shown here and in the video until you can perform them fluidly and then put them together into a routine. This routine is especially nice because it integrates the type of techniques used by estheticians and the types of techniques used by massage therapists into a harmonious progression and flow.
Apply an aromatic towel to the face. Remove a steamy aromatic towel from a cooler and drape it on the face by spreading it from under the chin to the forehead. Allow the towel to sit on the face for up to 1 minute and then gently press it into the face to increase the sensation of heat. Remove the towel from the face and drop it under the massage table in a preset bin.
Apply an appropriate face cream starting under the chin, coming up around the mouth, around the nose, up the nose to the forehead, and down the sides of the face to the chin. Repeat this technique six to eight times to spread the cream evenly over the surface of the skin.
Perform gentle cross strokes between the eyebrows.
Transition into s-bows and cover the whole forehead with s-bow strokes.
Transition to gliding strokes down either side of the nose and activate the pressure points at the top of the nose and bottom of the nose as the fingers circle. Repeat this technique three to six times.
Slide a relaxed hand over one eye in a circular motion and finish the stroke with pats at the side of the eye. Repeat this four times and transition to the other eye.
Make small circles around one eye and then the other. Transition to making circles around both eyes at the same time and then transition to the chin using small finger circles.
Lightly pétrissage the jaw line and s-bow the chin, then use a crossed thumb technique at the chin.
This image shows the crossed thumb technique at the chin. Use the index finger and the thumb on both hands to apply a lifting technique around the upper and lower lips as shown in the video.
Bring the thumb and index finger of one hand around the mouth in five to seven strokes to smooth the tissue at the sides of the mouth.
Using soft hands and relaxed wrists, apply a gentle slapping tapotement to the underside of the jaw.
Bring the gentle slapping tapotement up the jaw line and cheek area and then transition back to underneath the jaw.
Transition from the slapping tapotement into a “snapping” tapotement and apply the stroke to the jaw line and cheek area on both sides of the face.
To learn this stroke, make a pinching movement with the thumb and index finger but instead of meeting the fingers, lift them up off the face.
Soothe the sides of the face with gentle upward strokes toward the top of the forehead.
Gently massage the outer edge of the ear and push the ear forward to stretch it. Massage the area directly behind the ear and finish the area by laterally flexing the neck to one side during a long stroke down the neck, over the shoulder and down the arm. Repeat this stroke on the opposite side.
The facial sequence can be repeated up to three times for a longer face massage. To end the face massage, place 1 drop of peppermint or lemon oil in the hands and rub them together and cover the nose lightly for 30 seconds.
A second steamy aromatic towel might be applied to conclude the face massage or you might apply a cool (not cold) towel to the face.
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For over 16 years, Spa Bodywork: A Guide for Massage Therapists has been the best-selling spa textbook used in massage schools. The digital version available at Massage Mastery Online takes this textbook to a whole new level. It’s visually stunning with 1,154 images and lots of video. Most treatments you’ll learn are designed to be done in your existing massage room and don’t require wetroom equipment. Get your copy today. School owners and directors of education who are responsible for textbook adoptions can request a free review copy.