The art of facials

May 13, 2019

We caught up with Legacy Balance Spa’s Margarita Ioannou about how in her career she has taken time out to perfect the art of the facial massage. Early in my career, Spa visitors always booked extra facial massages because they found that not only did the service help them completely relax, but also the benefits lasted longer and resulted in a youthful, radiant glow. True therapeutic effects of a facial massage can only be achieved when the Spa expert has complete scientific knowledge of the skeletal and neuromuscular functions. Additionally, the actual practice of the facial is in itself an artform.

History of massage

Massage was practiced by the Chinese 3,000 years ago to help with vitality, and 19th century massage popularity reached its peak as Pehr Henrik Ling (1776–1837) brought it to the United States. Later, Johan Georg Mezger (1838–1909) adapted French names to denote the basic massage strokes used today. In 1887, Thomas Stretch Dowse, MD, wrote, “Some physicians suggest that stress may be responsible for 75% of all disease in the Western world, including [psoriasis and eczema], high blood pressure, backache, poor eyesight and depression, the solution is to use massage therapy.” How timeless is this statement today, especially in dealing with hard economic times. An anti-stress massage might be what our Spa visitors need today more than microdermabrasion. There are, however, some contraindications for massage, such as acne, broken or bruised skin, and clients who have suffered strokes.

Skin foundation

The skin protects a person’s internal organs from injury and infection, and skin elasticity withstands physical pressure and reduces injury. Skin is also an organ of exchange and sensation. Nerve endings in the epidermis respond to heat, cold, touch, pressure, pain and pleasure. So that’s why the correct touch, the right pressure, and the temperature of the cream or lotion that are applied have an impact on the way the skin reacts. Administration of a successful massage must include knowledge of muscles, nerves, bones and the lymphatic system, as well as the function and dysfunction of the skin.

Spa Therapists need to completely understand the histology and structure of the body in order to deliver a good massage because a massage does not merely serve a cosmetic function, it is therapeutic and heals both psyche and skin. Knowledge of the shape and function of the facial muscles is important in order to release the tension and pressure from the clients’ faces. The lymphatic system is key in purification and it performs the role of a filter, removing waste so when it is said that massage helps to detoxify the skin that is what it means. So often, Spa Therapists have a difficult time explaining the importance of a good massage.

An effective massage

When giving the perfect facial massage, hygiene is a must. Fingernails should be short and unpolished. No gum-chewing is allowed and hair should be tied back neatly. The therapists mind should be clear, their only thoughts should be of their client and they should do what they need to do beforehand, in order to clear the mind. Take a few minutes and a few deep breaths before the massage. The client should have 100% of their focus. The client’s body temperature will drop as they relax, so it is important to keep them warm, a duvet is thin, yet provides great warmth. Select a cream and adjust its temperature according the client’s energy. Choosing the right product for a facial massage is also very important. You may select a serum and anti-aging cream for a massage treating mature skin, or a more water-based cream for one addressing oily skin.

Emulsions are preferable for dry skin and normal to oily skin. You should be in touch with your client’s needs and preferences. A good massage includes not only the face, but the shoulders and décolleté (lower neck), and it is important to have a thorough understanding of the areas you are massaging in order to give a truly effective massage. Remember that correctly administering a massage will provide therapeutic effects. It will stimulate collagen and elastin, improve skin texture, and help eliminate toxins, improve circulation, and help to relieve stress and tension resulting in a smoother, healthier-looking complexion. Want to book your facial? Click here and browse our spa's:

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