Now is an opportune time to really crank up the self-care, which could mean making every night a face mask night, learning how to give yourself the perfect pedicure, or exfoliating like there's no tomorrow. But there are also so many other ways to pamper yourself that are more than skin deep, like mastering a few facial massage techniques that can actually reduce feelings of stress and make you feel more grounded — and they'll only take a fraction of the time you spend waiting for your sheet mask to soak in.
You know that massage feels good, but there's also some science to the way it's beneficial. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupressure points correspond to different parts of the body, and practitioners say that by applying pressure to these areas, you can move energy there, resulting in improvements in digestion, immunity, and performance of your internal organs, as well as your mental wellbeing.
You've probably noticed of late that some of the most buzzy facial studios and spas have included elements of facial massage in their offerings, not only to make your complexion more toned and glowy, but also to make you feel more relaxed and centered. And since you probably don't have access to estheticians right now, it's a perfect time to up your at-home facial game — even if you don't have the fancy tools (like gua sha stones or jade rollers). In fact, according to Santa Monica-based skin therapist and healer Julie Civiello Polier, you only need a minute or so and your own two hands to get an instantly stress-relieving massage now.
Now, considering the critical health-conscious times, it's important to heed the directions of Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and make sure you're only touching your face and handling skincare products with clean, sanitized hands. While self-care is definitely important, your overall physical health is a top priority here. So before you jump into the steps below, wash your hands — oh, and wash them after all is said and done, too.
OK, now onto the main event: Ahead, Polier's three super simple facial massage techniques to try ASAP — and be sure to follow her on Instagram, where she's been sharing even more tips and tricks.
Facial Massage Techniques: Ease Your Heart By Pinching Your Eyebrows
Polier, who's also a reiki master by trade, loves to incorporate the benefits of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and in particular acupressure, into her healing facials. A simple technique that you can replicate involves gently pinching your brows to calm the system. "By lovingly grasping your eyebrows between your thumbs and index finger, you can send love and relief to your heart as well as your kidneys and gallbladder," she explains. "According to Traditional Chinese Medicine and reflexology facial mapping, the heart lives on the face right above the eyebrows, the kidneys live all around the eyes on the upper and lower lids and the gallbladder lives right below the eyebrows. Begin in the middle where your eyebrows meet just under your third eye, gently pinching and work your way out to the ends of your eyebrows. Repeat this movement three to five times while breathing deeply and continuing to release your jaw."
Ground Yourself by Pulling on Your Earlobes
Feeling overwhelmed? According to Polier, a light tug on your earlobes may give you some instant relief. "Pressing on the earlobes is a fabulous way to activate the lymph fluid in the face and neck to drain and carry away the toxins for cleaning and release," she says. "Pulling downward on your earlobes while breathing deeply is very grounding and can invite you to be more centered and more calm."
Release Old, Tiny Hurts by Massaging the Insides of Your Lips
Believe it or not massaging your lips could be the key to feeling more soothed internally — but as a reminder, be very conscious of practicing good hygiene before trying this or any other activities that involve touching the face. "After washing your hands thoroughly, gently grasp your top lip with your thumb and index fingers, with your thumbs just inside your lip," Polier instructs. "Your thumb stabilizes on the inside and your index fingers makes tiny, gentle circles on the outside. This massage energetically and emotionally responds to old, tiny hurts. In facial mapping, the top lip represents the stomach, so this massage also aids the stomach in its function and to relax if it's very tight."