Article that I wrote for "Holistic Resource" magazine in which I talk about Natural Facelift Massage, Botox and how wrinkles form.
The human face represents who we are – our beauty, health and overall sense of well-being, and the face we present to the world influences our personal and professional lives. While everyone’s face eventually shows effects of the natural aging process, it is perfectly normal to want to look more attractive and healthy.
The “stay young” industry is a multi-million dollar enterprise that rakes in profits from both women and men who have become prey to the hype of a “quick fix.” However, with inspiration from both Eastern and Western forms of massage, practitioners have been able to expand the anatomical and physiological knowledge of the face and develop a completely natural and safe alternative to more radical procedures with the potential for risks and complications.
My own introduction to facial rejuvenation was a happy accident. In choosing a continuing education class required by my practice, I was intrigued by the course in “Natural Facelift Massage.” Quite honestly, I entered the class as a skeptic. Like most of us, I had come to believe that the effects of aging could only be treated by expensive cosmetic products, chemical injections, or invasive surgeries. I was in for a pleasant surprise on the first day of instruction. Our teacher used the technique on one side of a student’s face for 30 minutes, with specially-designed massage moves and without oils or lotions. Comparing the results of his work with the untreated side, the student’s skin was brighter, the puffiness under her eye was gone, the jaw was tighter and appearance of wrinkles greatly diminished. We learned that a series of these massages could help tone and tighten skin and visibly reduce wrinkles, sagging skin, crow’s feet and laugh lines.
In my studies I had already learned that full body massage produces anti-aging results. A recent study measured the effect of healing touch on the properties of pH, oxidation-reduction balance, and electric resistance in body fluids. These factors were linked to biological age. Before a treatment, the mathematically determined age of the touch treated group was 62; after treatment it was 49.
I decided to make Natural Facelift Massage the center of my practice, and I now understand from experience why it is so effective. This holistic treatment is a combination of massage, accupressure, lymphatic drainage and energy balancing. First of all, the skin is effected during the treatment. Since no oils or creams are used, the traction movements create gentle, natural exfoliation. Dead skin cells are removed, pores open, and even sun spots are decreased.
The face is supported and animated by more than sixteen different muscles, and the signs of aging arise partially as a result of the laxity of tissues that lose their elasticity. The skin is like a “blanket” that covers muscles and connective tissue. Cosmetic products only affect the skin, but for good tone and preventing the wrinkles it is necessary to work deeper as well. We usually go to a gym to exercise the muscles of our body, neglecting the muscles of the face. Massage provides needed exercise and stimulation. The stress of modern life may affect facial muscles, creating tension. In this case, the vital supply of nutrients to the skin is reduced, and the removal of waste products slows down. During the massage, muscular tension is reduced, improving the flow of blood and nutrients. As an added benefit, Natural Facelift Massage reduces stress, leaving you feeling peaceful and relaxed.
We all are familiar with skin and muscles, but little is known about connective tissue. This tissue wraps around every muscle fiber and fills spaces in between the muscles. It consists of collagen and elastin fibers as well as gel-like ground substance. Many believe that wrinkles are formed because of movements of the muscles, but that's not actually true. Over time, connective tissue fibers can become “glued” together because of lack of stimulation. Specific movements of Natural Facelift Massage free the fibers and restore it suppleness. Connective tissue regains its freedom and elasticity contributing to healthy and younger-looking skin and thus erasing wrinkles. Another layer, the lymphatic system, is responsible for removing toxins. The sweeping and acupressure techniques encourage better lymphatic drainage which reduces puffiness. Skin is left hydrated and glowing.
Subtle energies are effected during the session as well. Acupressure points on the face are stimulated, and energy blockages are released which generate a fresh supply of innate healing energy.
Aging is inevitable, and it is only natural to be concerned about your appearance, but going down the path of Botox injections or plastic surgery has serious risks and side effects.
“I'd like to grow old with my face moving,” said actress Kate Winslet, who has avoided the Botox injections popular among many other celebrities. A type of nerve poison, Botox is made from a neurotoxin called botulinum, used to paralyze muscles in the face and thus restrict muscle movement. The toxin is injected into specific facial regions thereby disrupting nerve communication and leaving the muscles unable to contract to produce frown lines, and wrinkles. The result is a “frozen face.” Botox can cause drooping eyelids, problems swallowing, speaking or breathing, plus symptoms of botulism, including muscle weakness, according to the company website. And wrinkles return when the drug wears off. But knowing anatomy there is an understanding that Botox can make you age more rapidly. The injection “freezes” muscles and that prevents natural process of elimination of toxins. If muscles are not moving, connective tissue is no moving as well and the fibers get "glued" together.
A surgical facelift removes excess facial skin to make the face appear younger. Last year, more than 600,000 facial surgery procedures were performed in the United States. Complications have included hematoma, nerve injuries, infection, skin flap necrosis, hypertrophic scarring, and alopecia and hairline/earlobe deformities. “If anybody says their face-lift doesn’t hurt they’re lying,” said Sharon Osbourne. “It was like I’d spent the night with an ax murderer. It took about two weeks for me to function properly.”
Having “work” done is one way to turn back the clock. But with Natural Facelift Massage, you can soften the effects of time on your face with a noninvasive and safe way to restore your skin’s youthfulness and vibrancy. There are no side effects, only benefits. Face massage enhances the supply of nutrients to skin cells, refines pores, improves elimination of toxins, promotes better blood and lymphatic circulation, reduces under-eye bags and puffiness, and tones and firms facial muscles. Aside from the visible benefits, it balances the body's subtle energies and encourages innate beauty, confidence and radiance. Clients report feeling calm and de-stressed, able to sleep more soundly and cope better with daily life.
More and more massage therapists and estheticians are being trained in Natural Facelift Massage, but if you cannot find one of these certified practitioners near you, do not be discouraged. Support your body with regular full-body massage, eliminating toxins and restoring connective tissue to its natural state. A practitioner’s routine will likely include work on the face. You can also do "homework" on your face, a 5-minute routine of daily self-massage, incorporated into your routine each morning. First press very lightly for lymphatic drainage, then a bit deeper effecting muscles and connective tissue. Massage in circular motion on your forehead, temples, cheeks, and jaws (always moving in a upward movement). And finally, drink lots of water to promote detoxification. Enjoy the feeling of putting your best face forward throughout your day.