Now I know you can’t wait to get to the scalp – and it’s a fabulous scalp routine including some shiatsu and pressure point techniques – but here’s the thing: you have to spend some time on the neck if you’re going to work on the face and scalp. The area is too interconnected to leave the neck out. I use these neck techniques in almost every massage and they are personal favorites of mine.
Take a peek at the video and learn a few neck and shoulder techniques you can use at any time, even without adding the facial massage to it. Enjoy!
To continue the 12 Days of Facial Massage video series, we’re moving on to work on the neck. I know, I know, what are we still doing on the neck? Well, as I mentioned yesterday, the neck’s connections to the scalp, face and jaw directly affect the tension, flexibility and range of motion of the face.
Today, we’ll look at some basic work on the middle and upper trapezius muscle and work on the cervical erectors – those muscles that hold our heads up throughout the day.
Some of the muscle attachments directly overlap the muscles on the face, and thus loosening and relaxing them will open up and relax the face. Plus, it just feels great and your partner will love it. If you want to back up to see the first video, you can take a peek at it here: http://blog.massagebyheather.com/12-days-of-facial-massage-part-1/
During the holiday season I like to put together a series of videos you can use to work on your friends and family. Last year, I did a series on basic partner massage (you start it here) and this year, I’ve put together a series of techniques to use for facial massage. We start off with traction on the arms and head, and a little work on the chest. When working on women, just work the upper part of the chest, close to the collar bone, just the first couple of inches below the clavicle.
Why start with the chest and shoulders if we’re doing a facial massage series? The body can’t really be separated out into components the same way a computer or an appliance can. Because of the way the muscles, tendons, ligaments and bone interact, work on the shoulders, neck and upper chest affects the face and the all the facial muscles that connect in along the jaw bone, the ears and the skull. To address that, we start the facial massage with work on the chest, shoulders and neck before working on the scalp and face. It’s worth the wait, I promise.
I just found out that November is TMJ Awareness month, and I wanted to share a couple of massage resources I have with you. Temperomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ) is a condition in which the TMJ joint (the joint that’s the hinge of your jaw) becomes inflamed. The inflammation, which can be acute or chronic, leads to pain and loss of function in the jaw, mouth, ears and neck. Sometimes, clients report difficulty chewing, or opening their mouth wide. They can also feel pain or fullness in the ears. Clicking and popping sounds from the joint itself can also indicate TMJ symptoms. Migraines, headaches, dizziness and tinnitus can also be a associated with TMJ disorder.
Another technique that can also help is lymphatic drainage of the ears. This video can show you how to perform lymphatic drainage on yourself so you can reduce fluid around and in the ears.
And if you can talk your spouse, partner or friend into it, you can add this one to the list:
So, take some time to watch the videos if you or a loved one has issues with TMJ syndrome. Using self-massage gives you a tool to give yourself immediate relief from the pain, and it also gives you another tool to use in your management and treatment of the symptoms.
Last fall I introduced a technique I call “The Sedator” to my practice. It was based on an anti-anxiety foot massage, but really, it’s just a way to melt someone right on down into REM. All my clients who enjoy foot work save 10-15 minutes of their massage for just this one technique. It’s slow, very soft, and rhythmic.
It’s not “hard” per se, but is tricky. The person who developed it was thinking about using binaural beat technology that uses tones in the ears to alter the consciousness state of the listener. In this case, a dissonance in timing between the two hands creates a similar (and very relaxing) state. Simply put, one hand is about a beat behind the timing of the dominant or starting hand.
If you haven’t had me try this out on you, take a peek and see if it looks interesting. It doesn’t look like much, but my foot people are in LOVE with it and can’t say enough wonderful things about it. This is a simplified version of what I use on clients, so you should be able to pick it up with a little practice.
And if you want to try it out in your next Louisville massage, just mention it and I’ll set you up!
Ready to finish out the feet? We’ve done some excellent work on the foot with your partner face-down. This lets you use your body and hands to apply more pressure to the sole of the foot and feels wonderful to fans of deep tissue work. Let’s finish out the last bit with toe stretches and techniques.
If you haven’t gotten a gift for your Valentine, consider giving your partner a 20-30 min foot massage with these techniques. Couple that with some soft music, fine chocolate, a glass wine and you have the perfect Valentine’s gift!
To feel this first-hand, contact me for a massage in Louisville or for a session in Nashville.
Got a partner who wants deeper pressure on his/her feet? Working on the feet while your partner is face-down is a wonderful way to use deeper pressure on the feet while keeping your own hands safe.
A lot of these techniques are the same or similar to what we used on the Fabulous Face-up Foot Massage, and the Fabulous Face-Up Toe Massage so don’t be surprised if it looks familiar. Remember to use a pillow under the ankles to keep the feet elevated a little and make foot massage more comfy. If you don’t have a pillow, roll up a towel or a blanket to give the foot a little cushion.
The toes are an often forgotten part of the body. Until they start to cause issues, that is. Issues with the toes can eventually make their way up the body in compensation patterns and cause problems in the ankle, knee, hips, back and even the neck/shoulders. With that in mind, I’ll give you a great way to work on a friend or partner’s toes.
I use many of these techniques every day – and the toe stretches at the end of the video are wonderful. I’ve had clients report reduction in plantar fasciitis and tendonitis on the foot from these stretches. For people with flat feet it can really open up the tissue and get good blood flow going.
One caution – the toe stretches can be very intense. Move slowly and do very small stretches at first. Have your partner tell you as soon as it starts to feel uncomfortable. You can move the toes a lot further than the body is comfortable with them stretching, so you’ll be asked to stop the stretch before you feel the end of the range of motion with these stretches.
Enjoy! And as always, contact me for massage therapy in Louisville.
For Valentine’s Day, why not do something more wonderful than chocolate and flowers? Something they’ll love more than dinner out. Something they’ll tell all their friends.
That’s right: foot massage. I’ve got a four video series coming out over the next week or so just in time to teach you how to give a fabulous, wonderful, relaxing, invigorating, heavenly, spectacular foot massage. In fact, just offering to practice on them in advance might make this their favorite Valentine in years.
Now I know not everyone is a big foot fan, but here’s the thing: massage the foot is really easy, and there’s lots of ways to do it that feel very good. You don’t have to use deep pressure on the foot to make it feel good. In fact, I’m planning a BONUS video to show off a light-pressure technique I use called “The Sedator” so that you can try it on your partner.
So get your partner on the table and follow along. There are lots of techniques in the first video, so pick a few that look easy and try them out.
This first video is for working on a partner face-up and covers the top of the foot and the sole, but not the toes – that’s the next video.
(Shout out to AM for being my stunt foot in these videos). And if you’re looking for a good massage in Louisville, just give me a buzz.
Louisville massage therapist Heather Wibbels, LMT has been showing clients how massage helps since 2003. Her Saint Matthews massage therapy practice is centered around chronic pain, stress-relief and injury work.
This blog is Heather's way to reach a wider world than those she can lay hands on, and self-massage and partner massage videos are a large part of that. View her YouTube Channel at MassageByHeatherW: