2 Total Relaxation Facial Massages

Gentle massage is soothing and healing; yet although we instinctively rub a bumped shin or tired eyelids, most of us don’t often treat ourselves to more extensive self-massage.

Oil massage is considered a preventive in ayurvedic medicine. It is designed to tone the skin, smooth out the muscles, stimulate circulation of blood and lymph, and leave your body feeling wonderfully sleek and alive. Sesame seed oil, olive oil, canola oil, almond oil, or coconut oil may be used. If you’re buying a prepared massage oil, make sure it has one of these oils as the main ingredient. When I have time, I like to blend sesame and almond oil and add a bit of essential oil such as frankincense, lavender, or eucalyptus for a “scent”-sational massage. On a hot summer day, coconut oil is wonderful.

This massage is usually done standing up, and should be done naked. For best results, leave the oil on your body for at least ninety minutes before showering off. I like to do this massage just after a shower in the evening. I towel off the excess oil, put on my comfortable nightclothes, and  enjoy the lingering sensations before going to bed. The oil is completely absorbed by the time I climb into the sheets.

Oil Massage Techniques:

Unlike in Swedish massage, the hands do not knead or dig deeply into the muscles. Instead, the palms remain flat and are brushed, or drawn, evenly over the skin with only moderate pressure, as though you were smoothing wrinkles from a bedsheet.

In the ayurvedic tradition, oil massage is often done at a brisk tempo that can actually be aerobic if done for thirty minutes or more. But I like to do it at a slow, steady pace that allows time to enjoy the sensations. Feel free to linger over an area for greater stimulation. Try spending extra time on your ankles, wrists, backs of the knees, or any area that feels especially good. Take your time to master the movements, making sure to cover your whole body with oil.

  1. Place a few drops of oil in your palm and rub the hands together. You will add oil as needed, but will require less and less oil the more often you do this massage.
  2. Begin by rubbing the tips of the fingers, then move through your body in the massages below:

Face & Head Massage (With Oil)

  1. Rub the top of your head in a circular motion, then massage upward from the hairline to the top of the head—all the way around the head.
  2. Rub across your forehead in both directions.
  3. Rub downward along the sides of your face from your temples across your cheekbones, across the chin and upper lip, and along the sides of the nose.
  4. Rub the right palm across the front of the throat moving from left to right, then switch hands and move from right to left. Alternate back and forth.

Facial Massage (Without Oil)

Kathy Smith Facial Massage

Movement Focus: Circular massage patterns with fingers on skull, face, and jaw.

  1. Interlace your fingers over the top of your head so that your thumbs come to your temples.
  2. Make circular movements at each temple.
  3. Place your thumbs together at the bridge of your nose and spread them outward just underneath your brow ridge.
  4. Place your thumbs together at the bridge of your nose and draw them straight up your forehead toward your hairline and outward toward your temples.
  5. Spreading your fingers on your skull, massage your jawline, especially the large muscles where your upper and lower jaws meet.
  6. Massage your skull, making small circles with each finger.