Massage therapy has been used as a healing technique for thousands of years and is mentioned in the history books of China, ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt, India and Japan. According to the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine, massage therapy lowers stress hormones, increases mental alertness, reduces pain and improves mood.
The beauty benefit
When it comes to North Americans, ritualistic beauty practices are not as celebrated as they are in other cultures. Just as we grab our coffees to go and shake hands rather than embrace, we spend much less time than our European counterparts on pampering ourselves. But increasingly, women in the know are turning to facial massage as part of their beauty routine. It can increase circulation, reduce toxins (by stimulating the lymphatic system and helping with drainage) and leave you with an overall feeling of well-being. A fast-paced facial massage can help relieve tension and reduce puffiness. “You will feel better and look better,” says Dr. Nowell Solish, a Toronto-based cosmetic dermatologist.
Celebrity facialist Anastasia Achilleos recommends a three-step process for at-home massage:
1. First tap product into the skin, starting from the forehead and working down to the neck and décolletage.
2. Repeat the process, this time gently pressing in the lotion or oil.
3. Massage your lotion or oil all over the face, extending down to the breastbone for best results.
It’s the marriage of active ingredients with the act of massage that works to de-stress, calm and beautify skin. So go on, get glowing.
Here are five great facial massage oils to get you started:
1. Herbal recovery oil, 15 ml, $76, Eminence Organics.
Revive your complexion with this handmade organic oil that is ideal for sensitive and aging skin.
2. Almond soothing facial oil, 50 ml, $26, Weleda.
A trio of organic oils and the super-antioxidant vitamin E join forces to soothe and protect the skin.
3. Blue orchid face treatment oil, 40 ml, $56, Clarins.
Treat dehydrated skin with essential oils of rosewood and patchouli and blue-orchid extract.
4. Decleor aromessence Ylang Ylang serum, 15 ml, $75, The Bay.
Just two drops of this all-natural concentrate cleanses and purifies oil-prone skin.
5. Fresh elixer Ancien oil, 50 ml, $288, Sephora.
This oil, made in a Czech Republic monastery, has antioxidants and powerful amino acids to restore skin.