What Are the Manipulations for a Facial Massage?


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All facial massage treatments in a spa environment involve a combination of at least two basic manipulations. These movements are performed on the superficial muscles of the face as well as the neck, shoulders and sometimes the arms. These movements can achieve a variety of results, including relaxation, skin tightening, an increase in circulation or a healthy glow from the skin.

Effleurage Manipulations

Effleurage manipulations use light, continuous stroking with the fingers or the palms of the hand. These long, gentle stroking movements are commonly performed during Swedish massages. This method is very rhythmic and relaxing for the client; no pressure is used. Sometimes only the cushions of the fingertips touch the skin's surface in gentle strokes across the forehead, cheeks or under the eyes. Effleurage is usually used at both the beginning and very end of the massage session.

Petrissage Movements

Petrissage movements are considered more kneading movements. Between the thumb and fingers, the skin is lifted and then squeezed with a firm but light amount of pressure. The benefits of this type of manipulation include stimulation of muscles, glands and nerves. This type of manipulation can be performed on the cheeks with a light pinching of the fleshy areas as well as on the shoulders and down the arms. Any deeper-kneading movements should be limited to the back and shoulders.

Types of Friction Movements

Deep-rubbing movements utilizing the palms and fingers to apply pressure is known as the friction technique. Movements like chucking, rolling and wringing are all considered friction moves. Chucking involves a firm grasp in one hand, moving up and down the limb along the bone, while the other hand holds the limb steady. Wringing is a vigorous, downward motion here both hands apply a twisting motion in opposite directions. Rolling is when the tissues are being pressed and twisted back and forth.

The Tapotement Technique

The tapotement technique consists of short and fast tapping, hacking or slapping movements that are said to be the most stimulating of techniques. It helps to tone muscles and can give the treated area a healthy glow. According to the textbook "Milady's Standard Cosmetology," the person performing such movements should have strong but flexible fingers. These types of movements are performed by bringing the fingertips down lightly, but in a rapid succession.