Japanese facial massage developed to improve one’s health and longevity, emphasizing the prevention of problems rather than the curing of existing ones. When properly administered, it improves one’s beauty, removes toxins from the face, and balances ki, or life force, to improve overall health.
Japanese facial massage is a profound combination of traditional Japanese medial concepts and distinct hand manipulation techniques. It is a branch of Japanese medicine, and is built from the long tradition of diagnostic medicine in the traditions such as Anma and acupuncture. From its technical origins in Anma, the procedure has reached its present refinement in the last 200 to 300 years within the beauty and cosmetology industry. Today, Japanese facial massage is an independent modality, standing on its own as an area of specialized therapeutic care.
Japanese Facial Massage Compared to Western Techniques
The aim of Japanese facial massage is unique. While Western facial massage addresses the external skin itself, Japanese facial massage is concerned with the condition of the skin, subcutaneous musculature and what is referred to as ki, or the life-force energy, often translated as "bioelectricity." Traditionally, the purpose of Japanese facial massage is to work specifically and precisely with the facial meridian and tsubo (acupuncture points) to achieve a balance in the entire facial skin, the facial muscles, and the internal organs.
There are distinct differences between Japanese and Western facial massages. The core of western facial massage is smooth, light stroking of the surface tissues. Japanese facial massage utilizes a much larger, more varied, and much more refined application of techniques, a variety of surface strokes, as well as deeper pressure massage. There are also many technical differences in hand and finger applications. It is based on percussive techniques, and combines this with deep kneading technique to work the musculature underneath the surface tissues.
The greatest difference between the two approaches is the rich knowledge of ki flow in the Japanese tradition. Although both Japanese and western modalities focus on the condition of the skin and muscles, the Japanese approach begins with attention to the basic energetic health of the body and tissues. Knowledge of the ki flow in the face, and the ability to balance the flow of energy through the internal organs and consequently balance emotional conditions is a very important and unique characteristic of Japanese facial massage.