At the end of every Qigong practice session we are encouraged to gently massage the face before massaging the rest of the body. This is to take advantage of the intense qi that has accumulated by the end of the session.
However, the qigong facial massage I am describing today is one whole session by itself. It is to supply qi to the facial skin and underlying muscles, while the firm massage techniques stretch the skin, smooth out ( or prevent ) wrinkles, increase blood flow and strengthen the muscles.
I usually teach this only to my advanced students, but since there is so much interest in looking young, you are all privileged to learn this today.
The techniques are slightly different when doing self-massage as opposed to doing it on others. I will only describe the self-massage technique.
The breathing is at all times abdominal ( diaphragmatic ). Inhale at the start of every massage movement and exhale half-way until the end of the movement. Pause while you move your hand to repeat the movement, or to start a new movement.
I will describe the technique for the right side only, and the left will be exactly the reverse.
Make sure your face and hands are clean before starting. You may apply whatever facial creams, but make sure the skin is not too slippery since the massage must be slow and firm.
Start by placing the ball of your right hand ( the base of the palm ) on the front of your neck, on the muscles but avoiding the trachea ( windpipe ), with the palm and fingers hugging the neck following the jaw-line, and the fingers resting behind the ears. Apply firm pressure at the ball of your hand only, but not at the flat of the palm or fingers. At the same time, send the qi to the massaged areas.
Start the massage by slowly but firmly moving the palm sideways and upwards, lifting the fingers and the palm off the neck as they cross the midline at the back of the neck. This movement ends when the ball of the hand reaches the midline. Repeat several times, more if you have bad necklines.
Next place the ball of the hand under the chin and repeat the movement, except that now the area massaged is immediately below the jaw, and ending at the base of the skull. Repeat several times.
Then place the ball of the hand above the chin, and repeat the movement, moving above the jaw-bone, in front of the ear, and upwards in a semi-circle until the palm is above the right eye-brow. Now gently turn the palm so that the fingers face directly upwards, and continue moving upwards, ending at the hair-line. Repeat as many times as desired, each time ending nearer towards the centre of the forehead.
Note that at all times the facial and neck skin and muscles are stretched upwards to reverse the gravitational effect on the face and neck.
Next place the ball of the hand on the right cheekbone just beside the nose, with the fingers touching the top of the right ear. Slowly move upwards and outwards towards the ear, and continue to the forehead as in the previous movement. Repeat several times.
Now place the third and fourth fingers below the right eye ( where the eyebag would appear if you don’t have it yet! ) and slowly but firmly move outwards, and then upwards to end beside the corner of the eye-socket.
Lastly, place the ball of the hand on the outer edge of the eyebrow, and slowly but firmly move upwards until the hairline. Repeat by beginning nearer towards the centre, ending at the centre of the forehead. Repeat many times if you have bad frown-lines.
That completes the qigong massage for the right side, and you should repeat with the other side. Once you have got the movements perfected, you should do both sides together to ensure that this rejuvenating “treatment” is balanced.
Although some of the movements may be easier done using the opposite hand, it will then be difficult to do the massage on both sides simultaneously.
Those of you who are already doing facial massage will know that if correctly and regularly done, facial anti-aging massage can show results even after only a few sessions. If you add qi to the massage, the effects last longer. And if you eat sufficient nutritious foods and plenty of clean water, you will look even younger.
It is important to make sure that you have sufficient nutrients for the skin cells to benefit most from this qigong massage. Qi-charged cells are hungry for nutrients. For younger skin, make sure you have a healthy diet, and since it is almost impossible to combat all the ravages against our skin through our typical diet, I recommend taking supplements, including amino-acids, collagen, healthy oils, and anti-oxidants. Lastly, do not forget to use sunscreen when you’re out in the sun.
There are also facial exercises that can be done to further improve the facial muscles, and therefore keep the face young. One of such exercise regimes was marketed on TV sometime ago. There is scientific basis behind it and I recommend it too.
The festive season is coming, and many are wont to celebrate with late nights and excessive drinking. All these will only make them age faster. I have a close friend who is 5 years younger than I am, and was the “baby” of our close circle of friends. Unfortunately, a habit of drinking and late nights now make him look 10 years older than he is, and he now looks older than I am. If he stops all that, practices Qigong, do Qigong facial massage, exercise and improves his diet, he can still regain his youthfulness. And that applies to all of you out there who have also aged too fast.
One of the rules of anti-aging is – don’t die first, so that you will be around when the next cutting-edge anti-aging therapy becomes available. So, drive carefully always.
To the Muslims, I wish Selamat Hari Raya, and to the rest, happy holidays.