The Benefits of Facial Massage: A Guest Blog with Cara Brackman, Corporate Director of Esthetics for Bella Santé Spas

If you’ve ever visited the Greater Boston area and you love to Spa, you have probably made a stop at one of Bella Sante’s three locations: Boston’s Newbury Street, Lexington and Wellesley, Massachusetts. Winning Best of Boston for over a decade running, Bella Santé has a cult following among all New England spa-goers! They are best known for their facial treatments, ranging from classic European complete with steam and rich, luxurious products from Carita and Phytomer to results-oriented treatments such as Dermaplaning, SkinCeuticals Peels, Microneedling and HydraFacial MD treatments. 

I have had the utmost privilege of working there since 2007, and today I have the privilege of chatting with our Director of Esthetics, Licensed Aesthetician Caraline Brackman. Cara is talented, a wealth of knowledge, and has years of experience behind the treatment table as well as representing product lines (such as Silk Therapeutics!) Her very favorite topic is facial massage, and she’s sharing with us!

CB: “Very often, the benefits of facial massage get overlooked. As part of a facial, its benefits span beyond relaxation! Manual manipulation of the face has proven benefits in skincare, such as moving blood and lymph. Oxygen and nutrients can be brought to the skin’s surface and it’s the main reason for the glow. You can enhance the look of the face’s muscle tone depending on which massage movements you do. Specific massage movements done during a treatment have specific benefits. I love choreographed massage movements for different skin conditions- there are certain massage strokes that can help to soften fine lines and wrinkles by relaxing the facial muscles for example. Massaging the skin before extractions can aid in the extraction process by loosening dirt, debris and excess sebum from the pores. When oil is used as the massage medium, it can actually help to break down excess oil in the skin if there is an over-abundance.

I love products that feel good sensorially but that also benefit the skin. Right now at Bella we just launched our new Signature Facial with products from Phytomer that are exclusive to the spa. There is a product called the Pure Pore Heating Mask which contains Zeolites. Zeolites are microporous, aluminosilicate minerals commonly used as commercial adsorbents and catalysts. They essentially work as molecular sieves. When the mask is applied and massaged into the skin using a brush, the zeolites act as tiny cyclones that collect debris, dirt, pollutants and excess sebum into them, and then the product is cleansed off and removed with a warm towel. Its effects are very purifying.

I recommend that every woman do her own facial massage at home with her own products (recommended by your Aesthetician of course.) You can turn it into a relaxing nightly ritual that actually benefits your skin and helps your products to penetrate even better! Here in America, everything we do is quick. In Europe they take the time to do self facial massage as well as masques, especially overnight masques. Adding that to your routine the night after receiving a facial is an instant pick-me-up and can plump up the volume on the skin after a long week. My favorite is the Phyto Corrective Masque by SkinCeuticals.

Eating, drinking, being dehydrated, not getting enough sleep- all of these things can affect the appearance of the face. It is such a huge thing when you get dehydrated from drinking too much wine the night before and you wake up with a puffy face that looks bloated- A great facial massage that is stimulating as well as lymphatically focused can de-puff you almost immediately.

My favorite manipulations are lymphatic drainage in which the movements are pushing and pulling towards the lymph nodes, thereby detoxifying the skin and improving the appearance of the facial contour. I also love incorporating Shiatsu with lymphatic drainage which focuses on pressure points to help drain as well as release muscles such as the Corrugator Supercilli by doing a sweeping figure-8 movement around the eyes. This can be done around the mouth as well to soften the nasal-labial lines that often show up in the 30’s and 40’s.

It is also important to include the muscles of the head and scalp during the facial to help release tension to all of the facial muscles (as these are all connected.)”

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