Indian Head Massage for Face

The face massage

Starting on the face tends to make the client relax quickly. It also means that you don’t break the flow by stopping to clean your hands before moving from scalp to face.

1 Effleurage

With your fingertips, effleurage the face, working from the mid-line towards the ears. Work up from the chin to the forehead.


2 Frontal pressure points

Using pads of your middle fingers (or ring fingers for lighter pressure), press nine points on the forehead, holding each for five seconds.

1 Point 1 is between eyebrows (the staphani marma).

2 Point 2 is in the middle of eyebrows (the avarta marma).

3 Point 3 is on the temples (the shanka marma).

4 Work on three points from the middle of the forehead to the sides (points 4, 5 and 6).

5 Then work along the hairline in three places, working outwards (points 7, 8 and 9).

6 Finally, sweep with your fingers from points 7, 4 and 1 out to sides.

Frontal pressure points

3 Pressure points – eyes

Apply pressure for 2-3 seconds on points all around the eye sockets, moving out along the top and inwards underneath. Don’t slide the fingers along. Instead, lift them when moving from one point to the next. You will work on the avarta marma (midpoint above the eyes) and apanga marma (outer corners of eyes).

Pressure points around the eyes

4 Pressure points – nose and cheeks

Apply pressure for two or three seconds on points along sides of the nose working down to the nostrils (phana marma) and follow the curve under the cheekbones (shringataka

marma) to a point in front of the ears (feel for a small depression on the TMJ – this is an important acupressure point for many ear disorders). For sinus problems, apply friction along sides of the nose to the nostrils and then on the cheeks (maxillary sinuses).

Indian Head Massage for Face Photo Gallery

Pressure points on nose and cheeks

5 Jawline

With your thumbs on the chin and index fingers underneath, apply pressure and release; repeat at 1cm intervals working out towards the ears. Apply friction in small circles along same area before stroking out to the ears three times.

Working along the jaw line

6 Friction (jaw)

Apply friction with medium pressure at temporomandibular joint and masseter muscles before stroking down towards the neck.

Friction on masseter muscles

7 Ears

Starting at the ear lobes, work up and down the ears using your thumb and forefinger. Squeeze and release, apply friction and gently pull ears as you work up and down three times. The ears are rich in acupressure points, so take your time on this part of the massage.

8 Friction (temples)

Using your fingers or the heels of your hands, apply gentle circular friction on temples (the shanka marma) making six full circles. This helps to direct energy to the brain and mind and is excellent for eyestrain and tension headaches. Make six circles further back on the utkshepa marma to calm the mind and control excess vata.

Acupoints of the ear showing corresponding internal organs and body areas

Ear massage

10 Effleurage

Sweep across the face again, as in step 1.

Gentle friction on the temples is very soothing

9 Eyebrow squeeze

Using your thumb and first finger, squeeze and release along the eyebrows from medial to lateral, three times. This releases tension in the corrugator supercili muscles.

Eyebrow squeeze


11 Holding

Gently hold in three positions for five seconds: hands along the jawline; covering the eyes; and along the forehead. Gently squeeze inwards with palms when on the forehead.

Gently holding the face

The shoulder massage

The next part of the massage works on the shoulders. Many people hold a lot of tension in this area.

12 Linking effleurage

Place your hands on top of the head and lightly but briskly sweep down to the shoulders three times, before resting your hands on the shoulders.

Circular effleurage around shoulders

14 Friction

Continue on the left, applying friction (side to side or circular) with finger pads between the shoulder blade and the spine and out along the top of the shoulder. Repeat, using the heel of your hand and then your fist. Repeat all on the right side.

Friction between shoulder blade and spine

Friction on top of shoulders

15 Rubbing

With your whole hand, rub firmly and briskly all over both shoulders.

Rubbing upper back with whole hand

16 Kneading across shoulders

Use medium pressure to push forward with the heels of your hands up and over shoulders in three places, working from the corners of the shoulders towards the neck. Anchor your thumbs behind the neck and draw the muscles back with your fingers as you work out along the same area. Repeat twice more.

Kneading across shoulders

17 Freestyle kneading

Thoroughly knead the muscles on top of the shoulders and between the scapulae -experiment with your fingers, thumbs, fist, knuckles, forearms etc. You can also use a massage tool (see Chapter 7). Most people have tension in this region, which you can release.

18 Percussion

Keeping wrists loose, carry out hacking, champi (avoiding bony areas) and cupping across both shoulders.

Percussion on shoulders

19 Neck stretch

Tilt the head gently to one side and support with your forearm and hand. Using the other forearm, gently and slowly sweep out across the neck from below the ear to the corners of the shoulders three times, easing pressure as you approach the bony area. Repeat on other side.

Massage of arms and hands

Massage of the whole arm and hands is very beneficial, especially for those who spend hours working on computer keyboards.

20 Relaxing the arms

Crouch or kneel down at one side and bring the client’s arm down by their side. Holding at the wrist, shake gently to release tension and quickly roll the arm between your hands as you work down to the fingers, three times.

21 Compression

Holding the arm between both hands with thumbs pointing towards shoulder, slowly squeeze and release, working down to the wrist, three times.

Compression releases tension in the arm muscles

22 Hand and wrist massage (dorsal)

Supporting the hand with your fingers, stroke up between metacarpals with your thumbs. Stroke all around wrist and press into the webbing between the thumb and index finger. This acupressure point is wonderful for relieving all types of pain, but is contraindicated in pregnancy.

Wrist and hand massage (dorsal)

23 Hand and wrist massage (palmar)

Turn hand over and stretch the palm by interlocking your little fingers with the client’s little finger and thumb. Support with your other fingers underneath and open the client’s hand to stretch the palm while your stroke it outwards using your thumbs. Stroke all around the carpal bones of the wrist.

Wrist and hand massage (palmar)

24 Finger massage

Hold palm down in one hand and squeeze all over first finger. Rotate finger twice in each direction, then make a fist and stretch finger gently between two of your fingers. Repeat for each finger; then massage thumb and muscles

at base of thumb deeply and thoroughly. Rest hand on client’s lap and repeat on other side.

Massaging the fingers

25 Petrissage of upper arms

With the pads of your fingers, make small circular movements from the elbows to the top of the arms, working on the front, back and sides. Work on both arms together.

Petrissage of upper arms

Neck massage

The next part of the massage moves on to the neck. It is important not to use excessive pressure in this area.

26 Effleurage

Standing at the side with one hand on the client’s forehead, tilt the head slightly back and use the thumb and fingers of your other hand to apply gentle, sweeping effleurage at the back of neck for about one minute.

Effleurage on the neck

27 Friction

With one hand on the forehead, apply friction with the finger pads of your other hand up the side of the neck and under the occipital bone to the krikatika marma. Use gentle pressure on the vidhura marma (below mastoid process) but increase pressure going towards the krikatika to relieve muscular tension. Repeat twice more before doing other side.

28 Occipital rubbing

With one hand on the client’s forehead, tilt the head forward and rub the base of the skull with the heel of your other hand. Use side-to-side and up-and-down motions.

Rubbing under the occiput

Scalp massage

Untie long hair for this stage.

29 Effleurage

Standing behind the client, effleurage all over the right side of the head with the ball of the hand, starting behind the ear and finishing by ruffling the hair on top of the head. Repeat on left side. Repeat twice more on each side.

30 Friction

Support the left side of head with your left hand and using the finger pads of your right hand, friction all over the right side of the head with medium pressure. Then apply friction to the other side.

Scalp friction

31 Whole-hand friction

Standing behind the client with both your hands above the ears and your fingers facing forward, apply friction to slowly move the scalp up and down three times. Move both your hands up and repeat, then repeat again at the top of the head. Move to the side of the client, placing one hand at the hairline and your other hand on the occiput and apply

Scalp effleurage

Whole-hand friction

friction again three times in three places, moving towards the top of the head.

32 Ruffling

Keeping light contact with the scalp and your wrists loose, use open fingers of one or both of your hands to ruffle the hair from all angles.

33 Plucking

With your fingers outstretched, gently bring them down on the client’s head and spring them off, bringing your fingers and thumb together. Land in a different position with your fingers again outstretched. Repeat this energetic movement all over the head.


34 Stroking

Standing behind the client, place one hand on top of the head with your fingers pointing forward and gently stroke back, following with the other hand in a wave-like motion as you stroke the hair six times with each hand. Comb through with your fingers if the client’s hairstyle is appropriate.

35 Percussion

Use the flat of your fingers to perform tabla all over the head; then light hacking and champi.

Scalp percussion

36 Hair tugging

Supporting one side of the head, grab fistfuls of hair at the roots with other hand and tug from side to side, keeping your hand close to the scalp. Do this in several places and repeat on other side. You can also take fistfuls of the hair with both hands and squeeze at the roots without tugging as you work all over the head.

Hair tugging

37 Compression

With your elbows apart, lightly interlace your fingers and cup your hands towards the front of the client’s head. Gently press your hands into the sides of the head, lifting the scalp. Hold for a few seconds, release slightly and

Scalp compression

38 Shampooing

Spread your thumbs and fingers over the scalp, making small circular movements to ‘shampoo’ with medium pressure. Work with your thumbs around the occipital area.

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Post tags, Health care, Manual therapy, Massage, Medicine, Petrissage.

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