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Try This On Yo’ Face! Tanaka Facial Massage

Monday January 12, 2015 | Beauty Skin Care Wellness

Here is a beauty practice that doesn’t require spending any money.

Facial massage is an ancient technique that has a rational basis behind its application.

Adding facial massage to your daily beauty routine can help with the following:

- Drain lymphatic fluids
- Improve circulation
- Tone facial muscles

Thus helping to reduce puffiness, lift the sagging of the jowls, and reduce the formation of wrinkles on your face!

yukoku

The Tanaka Technique

The method I use is the Tanaka facial massage, which was created by Japanese makeup artist Yukuku Tanaka.

You can learn the Tanaka technique by watching these videos:

Tanaka Face Massage – Part 1
Tanaka Face Massage – Part 2
Tanaka Face Massage – Part 3
Tanaka Face Massage – Part 4

Although there are many of the Tanaka massage videos floating around on YouTube, I wanted to give a shoutout of thanks to Stephanie of Epic Beauty Guide who took on the the task of translating the videos into English.

If you watch the videos, there are some things that you may notice:

  • The massage is done according to a very specific sequence
  • Getting the right amount of pressure is important, “between pain and comfort”
  • For the sake of symmetry, always do to one side exactly what you did to the other
  • Yukuku Tanaka looks like a stern-faced Michael Jackson

Why I Think It Works

The reason for following the sequence according to the instructions and applying the proper amount of pressure is in order to facilitate the drainage of lymphatic fluids from your face.

Look at this illustration of the human anatomy:

lymph

[Henry Gray (1825–1861).  Anatomy of the Human Body.  1918. Source.]

Isn’t it beautiful?!

Ok, it may not be the most up to date illustration of the lymphatic system. But you get the idea.

There are lymph nodes in front of your ears, behind your ears, around your mouth, under your jaw line and down along your neck.

The movements of the Tanaka massage follow a path that hits the superficial nodes (the ones close to the surface of the skin) and moves the fluid down towards your chest.

Now you should be aware that lymphatic massage is a method that was developed and is used for people with lymphatic issues. It hasn’t been scientifically studied for its anti-aging benefits.

But personally, I do the massages on a regular basis and I’ve noticed that my jowls, which were starting to sag a bit, look better.

Also, if you suffer from puffiness because of allergies and sinus issues (like me), the massage can certainly help to reduce puffiness.

tanaka

How Often To Do This

Although the massage can be done safely every day, I do this about three times a week.

Usually it’s while I’m performing my nighttime routing using a creamy cleanser (like the sweet Aloree cleansing milk) or when I’m applying my nighttime moisturizer.

If your skin responds well to natural oils, then I would recommend using sweet almond oil or coconut oil.

Some words of caution

It’s very important to follow the sequence as shown in the video. If you don’t do it properly, it can lead to facial sagging.

Always keep symmetry in mind.

Also, it’s important to apply the proper amount of pressure so you are massaging the muscles and not just tugging at the skin.

If you are concerned about pulling the skin around the eyes, try applying pressure with the pads of your fingers on the space between your eye and brow bone. It will have the same effect of draining fluids and reducing puffy eyes.

And one last thing: if your skin is prone to acne, you may want to slowly try out the massage.

If it’s leading to more breakouts, I would suggest stopping or reducing the amount of time that you perform the massage.

In Closing…

No matter your age, I hope you bring the practice of facial massage into your life.

It can be a very relaxing and pleasant addition to your nightly or morning routine :)

And do let us know how it works for you!

Therapy By The Sea. The Beauty Benefits Of Seawater.

Tuesday October 1, 2013 | Beauty Wellness

 “I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky; and all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by.” ~ John Masefield, Spunyarn: Sea Poetry & Prose

the beauty benefits of the sea

It’s so thrilling to finally live just a short drive away from the beach!

The blue shimmering waters, the sound of the waves, the fresh salty air and the warmth of the sun… hardly a day has gone by that I have not spent some time sitting at the beach, breathing it all in.

Nevermind that it’s always too cold to go swimming in the Pacific waters of Northern California!

Just standing next to the ocean alone helps to bolster an overall sense of well-being.

But the benefits are not all just in our heads.

The beauty and health benefits of seawater are numerous. And have been known throughout the ages.

The ancient Egyptians and the greeks, including Hippocrates, observed that seawater could clean and heal wounds.

And the French have even invented a term for seawater therapy, called Thalassotherapy, which advocates the use not only of seawater, but also seaweed, sand and the maritime climate to treat various ails, from rheumatism to depression.

Seawater is filled with minerals and elements that maintain overall health and improve inflammatory skin conditions, such as acne, psoriasis and dermatitis.

The two main healers are salt and potassium chloride which help to seal damaged skin. Magnesium in seawater helps skin to retain moisture, so it will feel soft and smooth.

A certain amount of sun at the beach can also help treat skin ailments, by drying the skin and making it flake off and allowing healing to take place.

Sea air also provides respiratory benefits that can improve allergies and asthma. Negative ions, which are especially abundant in environments with moving water, increase our ability to absorb oxygen.

It’s no secret that relaxing at the beach can help to lower stress levels and rejuvenate the mind.

sea

When I stand next to the ocean, I am always reminded that we are part of something vast. And I am humbled.

Because no matter how big we make our problems to be, in the grand scheme of things, our lives are nothing but a small drop in an infinite ocean.

And for me, having regular access to that perspective is incredibly therapeutic.

Breathing. And Why I Encourage Yoga For Beauty.

Tuesday April 23, 2013 | Wellness

“Breathing Is Essential!” I hear Jane Fonda say in a singsong voice from the TV screen.

I raise my eyebrow and snort out of my nose. I’m in the middle of doing a side leg lift, hands on my hip and I’m feeling extra ridiculous. “Oh really, Jane?”

That was years ago.

Please don’t ask me why I used to do Jane Fonda workout videos. It was just something my friend and I did for giggles, ok?

But to this day, I’ve never forgotten about that Jane Fonda workout. OR that ridiculous quote ringing in my head…

“Breathing is essential!”

Of course it is.

It’s a fact so OBVIOUSLY true, that oh my god, do you really need to say it?

But yes, actually you do. You do need to say it. And then repeat it. Again and again. Because most people don’t think about the importance of their breath.

Or how the quality of your breath can affect the state of your mind. 

Breathe. Creative Commons License Image.

Many of our important emotions (ie. joy, fear, anger, sadness) are associated with a signature breathing pattern. A recent article from Acne Einstein‘s blog breaks down four different signature breathing patterns.

Basically, when you’re relaxed, you tend to breathe slowly and deeply through your nose. Your breathing pattern is regular.

But when you’re stressed or angry or anxious about something, your breathing pattern changes. It becomes shallow, irregular and your ribcage becomes tense.

Even without thinking about it, your body’s breathing patterns change with your emotions. But this connection between our minds and our breaths isn’t a one-way street.

Things can also go the other way.

If you can control your breath, you can also begin to control your emotions.

Yoga as a Stress-Buster

When we let stress run amok in our lives, it can wreak damage to our physical health. And the health of our skin.

Stress and acne are strongly linked together (in my case, I would even say that it CAUSED my acne). It can flare up eczema and rosacea. And it can keep us from getting the most out of our much needed beauty sleep.

But in the face of a stressful situation, if we consciously relax our muscles and control our breaths to become deep, slow and regular breaths, we can reduce and disperse the feeling of stress.

Control over your breathing patterns means the ability to keep stress at bay. 

And this is why I constantly encourage people to practice Yoga.

Yoga is amazing at keeping your body physically fit and keeping flexibility in your spine! What’s more, the breathing exercises and lessons that you learn from yoga are incredibly valuable.

Before you can control your breathing patterns, you must first become familiar with the way you breathe while being completely relaxed.

And the best yoga pose for this is one that’s so simple you wouldn’t even think that you’re doing yoga…

SAVASANA: Complete Relaxation

Savasana (also known as Corpse Pose) is usually the pose that you take on at the end of your yoga practice.

To take on the Savasana pose, you basically lie on your back, with the weight of your body evenly distributed throughout and your spine properly aligned. Then you allow yourself to completely melt into relaxation.

The best place to practice Savasana is on the floor because it provides a firm and even surface. You can place a blanket under the length of your body. Also, to keep your body from getting cold, be sure to cover up with socks and a long sleeved shirt.

This is the best time to become familiar with your relaxed breathing pattern.

Image by Yana Stowe. Used with permission.

During Savasana, you can actively practice diaphragmatic breathing. 

This is a deep, calm type of breathing that allows the maximum amount of oxygen to enter the bloodstream:

  • Place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen.
  • Breathe in slowly and evenly through your nose.
  • When you breathe in, the hand on the abdomen should rise slightly higher than the one on the chest.
  • Exhale slowly and evenly through your mouth.
  • Find a regular rhythm between your inhalations, holding the breath in and exhalations.
  • You can deepen the breathing by exhaling more air, so try gently contracting the abdominal muscles to evacuate any remaining air from the lungs.
  • During exhalations, release any contraction of your muscles.
  • Close your eyes and relax your eye muscles.
  • Soften your tongue, your jaw and the skin on your forehead.

Even though this is a relaxation exercise, Savasana does require some effort to keep your mind focused. Your mind may tend to wander over to your worries or start going over your day’s To-Do list. But if this happens, just gently bring your mind back to the present moment.

Ideally, you would do Savasana right after a yoga session.

But even if you don’t practice yoga, you can and you should practice this simple pose!

Try doing this relaxing exercise at least once every day, right before getting out of bed or right before falling asleep.

I promise it will change your life!

Image Sources:
Breathe – by Shawn Rossi. Creative Commons License. Used with attribution.
Corpse Pose – by Yana Stowe of givemeballroom.com. Used with permission.