6:10 Series of Habit Hacks for an Improved Lifestyle: FACELIFT

I extend my gratitude to every person dedicating his or her time to reading this article. Sustainable growth begins outside of the comfort zone and through small tweaks in daily routines.  

#6 FACELIFT

While receiving my first massage, I discovered knots in muscles I never knew I had. Feeling stress as a physical manifestation in my body was an enlightening moment. Stress is seen as a large bully lurking in the shadows and flowing through our body, and yet, it is profoundly tangible. 

Although ideally we would all grab our phones and schedule a massage on-site within the hour, some of our schedules may conflict with self-care regimens. Meet the Tension Triangle, beginning at the base of the shoulders and reaching the top of the forehead as described by neurophysiologist and physical therapist Mr. Wolf from Emory University School of Medicine. "Muscles in this area react dramatically to psychological pressure: the brow furrows, the jaw clenches, the neck tightens and the shoulders rise." People with desk jobs are more prone to shortening of the muscles, as muscle constriction builds gradually. 

A study from Massachusetts General Hospital showed results of chronically tensed corrugators, brow-knitting muscles, in depressed participants despite not having a furrowed brow. Furthermore, tightened muscles in the jaw and neck region lead to headaches because they slow blood flow to the brain and scalp. Massaging, when performed consistently and gently, is highly effective in countering this built-up tension. For those interested in a more in-depth treatment, I recommend researching Facial Yoga. 

Right now, I urge you to take a second and roll your neck- S L O W L Y... breathing into the tightness and then reversing the roll. Another on-the-spot sans masseuse technique is to grab your earlobes between your thumb and index fingers and pull down, elongating them and releasing pressure. Exhale.

For a mini facial massage to uplift the muscles, please remember to wash your hands and face before starting to avoid adding oily residue to your skin. Please remove contact lenses and remember the facial muscles are more delicate than others, therefore use gentle pressure. One recommendation for rejuvenation is to draw the figure 8 around your eyes to relax your facial muscles. To enhance overall skin condition, place your index finger right between your eyebrows where the bridge of your nose reaches your forehead, also known as Third Eye Point, and hold for 60 seconds. This location stimulates your pituitary gland, which regulates your body's hormones. To reduce acne and blemishes, place your index fingers on both sides of your face below your iris by the cheekbone, about a centimeter under the low ridge of the eye socket. Continue releasing tension for 60 seconds. Applying proper acupressure to the functional point below your ears, identified as Triple Warmer 17, is a wonderful method to tone facial muscles. Lightly apply pressure with your middle fingers for a minute and breathe deeply. End your facial massage with a smile- the simplest and most effective way to relax your forehead and jaw muscles. 

Blemish & Acne Reducer Acupressure. http://www.modernreflexology.com

Triple Warmer 17 Acupressure. http://www.modernreflexology.com

Sources:

Baccari, Ava. "Anti-Aging: The 5 Benefits of a Facial Massage." Elle Canada. (2015). 

Bourne, Carol. "12 Ways to Relieve Muscle Tension." Rejuvenation Lounge. (2010). 

Eitel, Joseph. "Exercises to Loosen Up Facial Muscles." Livestrong. (2017).

Goleman, Daniel and Tara, "Relieving Stress: Mind over Muscle." The New York Times Magazine. (New York, 1986). 

Mukherjee, Bipasha. "8 Acupressure Points to Relieve Jaw Pain and TMJ." Modern Reflexology. 

Mukherjee, Bipasha. "Acupressure Points For Healthy Skin- Facial Acupressure Treatment." Modern Reflexology.