When getting a massage, most people focus on the bigger areas, such as the back, neck, shoulders and arms. Face massage doesn’t seem to be too common, but, in fact, there is a lot of information out there about it. Indeed, the term gets 2,120,000 hits on Google, and there are numerous instructional videos on YouTube.
However, the exact benefits of face massage therapy, how, and to whom, it is performed, and even basic general information about the modality (from legitimate sources) are hard to discover. WebMD recommends face massage as a way to increase blood circulation to the face, which can improve complexion and help keep skin healthy and beautiful. The AMTA meanwhile published an article saying face massage therapy can strengthen oral motor development, which can help caregivers who provide therapy to patients with osteoarthritis.
Massage & Bodywork comes to a similar conclusion, saying that most face massage is aimed at the beauty and long-term health of skin, but it also says face massage can help treat some health-related problems, like serious conditions of the senses and nervous system. The article in Massage & Bodywork says that a professional face massage will use copious amounts of herbal oil, consist of finger pressure over the entire face, and feature a vigorous ear massage.
I’ve never received or given a face massage, and it seems like there could be some confusion in regard to the way face massage therapy is provided as it could be used for many different conditions (dry skin), ailments (nerve problems/headaches), or general beauty and wellness (facial, etc.).
One thing almost all sources seem to be in agreement about is that therapists should apply light, but firm, strokes when providing face massage therapy. Some say oils should be used (to moisturize), others say it should not be used (to avoid blemishes), and this will probably vary from therapist to therapist and what the individual massage recipient is looking for.
Please, if you have any experience giving or receiving a face massage, share this information in the comments area. It would be nice to know if there is generally agreed-upon information about the benefits of face massage and a standard way to perform it.