In our society most women over the age of 18 have experienced at least one facial in their lifetime. Facials are great for when you need that extra attention and services that you can’t really perform yourself at home. There are other forms of facial massages that are deemed medically necessary. These types of treatments are usually geared towards things like sinus congestion, migraines, sjogrens, or temporomandibular joint (TMJ) issues which can cause headaches.
Gentle massage applied to the face of course can help with the appearance of skin (such as wrinkles) by gently stimulating the collagen and elastin cells in the skin. Exfoliation of the skin also lessens the appearance of wrinkles by gently removing old skin cells that collect in the creases.
Massage treatment for TMJ primarily focuses on muscles in the face (i.e. masseter, buccinator) as well as the muscles in the front of the neck which usually either cause or contribute to the TMJ pain. Oral massage is becoming more common in dentist offices and to help their patients relax during procedures. Normally TMJ is seen in individuals that clench their jaw and or grind their teeth while sleeping. Usually a mouth guard can help protect the teeth when there is grinding involved but doesn’t really help with the muscle tension in the jaw and neck.
When someone complains of sinus congestion and if there’s time during their massage treatment I’ll do a gentle face massage under the cheekbones, around the temporal lobes, across the forehead, and gently under the eyebrow ridge. By pressing certain pressure points in the face, bones will ever so slightly shift and decompress. These similar techniques can also alleviate stress/tension headaches.
Our massage therapist MJ has experience with these techniques and I highly recommend coordinating a session with her if you’re interested. Mrs. Sunny Kim, Dr. Kim our acupuncturist’s wife and assistant, provides facials for acupuncture patients by appointments only.
For a better understanding of what typically happens during a facial massage, here is a handy diagram!