We often forget the head when we are thinking about massage, wellness and beauty but it is an important area of the body to look after.
Head massage is excellent for releasing tension and helping us unwind and is great to use for a overall sense of relaxation. It is also brilliant for our skin and hair. It’s an essential part of many Eastern wellness traditions, such as the Japanese practice of Shiatsu, Ayurveda (Indian Medicine) and Traditional Chinese Medicine. In these traditions, head massage is used to indirectly lift the face naturally and help keep skin looking toned and firm.
I use head massage techniques regularly as part of The Danielle Collins Face Yoga Method routines. And I had a wonderful chat recently over on Instagram with facialist, Nichola Joss. We both shared our favourite techniques to release tension, boost circulation, and give us healthier hair and skin. You can catch up with the full conversation via my YouTube.
I want to share those techniques here with you too. They’re simple moves, but they make a noticeable difference. Even just doing a few minutes a day can give you a real energy boost.
Before we begin, I’d like to encourage you to work intuitively with all these techniques. Sometimes we can get hung up on trying to do a move perfectly, but you don’t need to worry too much about getting it “right”. Do what feels best for you in the moment.
With that in mind, let’s get started.
Technique 1: Pummel with Fists
One of my favourite techniques is this simple method inspired from Indian Head Massage that instantly lifts your energy.
Forming your hands into fists, pummel them repeatedly over the top, sides, and the back of your head. Don’t forget the very back of your head and the nape of your neck too. There’s no need to worry about the exact technique or direction with this move. Use a pressure that feels good to you and continue for as long as you need.
Although we are focusing on the head today, you can also take this technique down onto your arms and shoulders in a Qi Gong inspired move. After all, it is all connected. Tension held in our shoulders often impacts the muscles of our head and neck. I find this technique brings immediate results. Straight away, I feel my energy lifting and everything feels lighter. It’s a fantastic way to get the circulation going too.
When we spoke, Nichola shared that she does something similar, although using her fingertips instead of her fists. You could try that variation too. One suggestion from Nichola that I loved was to do this first thing in the morning, especially if you haven’t slept well. It wakes everything up and helps to release any stiffness or tension if you’ve been tossing and turning all night.
Technique 2: Acupressure Point
We often focus on big, deep moves with head massage, but simply stimulating your acupressure points can be surprisingly powerful.
There’s an acupressure point about two fingers’ width from the centre of your hairline. The exact position varies from person to person. You’ll know you’ve found it if it feels slightly tender. When you have found the right place, apply gentle pressure with two fingers. How much you want to press down is up to you. Closing your eyes can help you focus on that spot and find the pressure that works best.
You can keep your fingers still or add in a small circular movement to massage the spot. Go one way, and then the other. This is especially helpful if you can feel a headache coming on, or even if you are in the middle of one. You can keep your touch light if it feels too tender.
It is also a good option for those moments when you feel trapped in your head. It helps to release stress and tension, so you can get unstuck from circular thoughts. Combine this with your daily Facial Yoga for best results.
Technique 3: Jade Comb
If you have a jade comb, you can use it for this technique. I have some beautiful ones available in my shop. Otherwise, you can just use your fingers instead.
Starting at your hairline, move the comb (or your fingers) back over your scalp. Use short strokes, and make sure you go over your whole scalp, including the very back of your head and the nape of your neck.
I like to do this in the shower. If you have long hair, it can help to have conditioner in to let the comb move smoothly. But you can do this no matter how long your hair is. The comb isn’t for detangling but to wake up the circulation in your scalp as well as providing you with the energetic crystal healing benefits.
Technique 4: Scalp Massage
This is one of Nichola’s suggestions. And I can confirm that it feels amazing!
By the middle of the day, most of us will be feeling heaviness and tension in our shoulders and faces, especially if we’ve been sat in front of a screen for hours. This move helps to release some of that stress.
Start with your hands in prayer position at your chin. Run them firmly and slowly up each side of your face towards your hairline. This part of the move promotes a feeling of safety and security, like a hug for your face. It is a supportive technique for when you are experiencing anxiety, sadness, grief, or worry.
When you reach your hairline, spread your fingers wide and push them through your hair until you reach the top of your head. Pull your hair upwards and then release. Repeat that a few times.
As you lift your hair and fingers upwards, you will feel the energy starting to move up and out through the crown of your head.
Nichola says she loves to do this in the mornings while grounding barefoot on the earth. You can feel the energy from the land moving up through your feet and body, then being released through your skull. It also activates the muscles of your face, helping to keep your skin firm and toned.
Technique 5: Back of Neck Massage
This last tip from Nichola is a facial massage technique which is excellent for releasing tension in your neck and upper body. Start with one hand on the back of your neck. Take a deep breath in and open your elbow out to the side, stretching through your shoulder and armpit.
Swing your elbow back to the front, dropping your chin down. As you exhale, pull your hand down the back and side of your neck, keeping a firm pressure. At the same time, turn your chin towards your opposite shoulder, tilting your head back slightly. Repeat the move on the other side.
This technique opens up the whole area and releases tension from the muscles at the top of your skull. Simple moves like these can help keep your skin and hair healthy. They also make such a difference to how you feel.
Although they focus only on the head, I find doing these massage techniques brings me back into my body and reconnects me with my physical environment. We hold our emotions and stress in our bodies. Head massage helps to release that tension and get our energy flowing again. It doesn’t take long – just a few minutes a day are enough.
One question that came up a lot when Nichola and I were chatting on Instagram live was “when is it best to start Face Yoga and head massage?”. Well, we both started in our twenties. But the real answer is that the best time is right now! Whatever age you are is just perfect. It is never too late to lift and tone your skin, improve your circulation, and calm your mind. Whether you are twenty or ninety, you will see the benefits of incorporating these techniques along with daily Face Yoga into your life.
I want to also add that my goal is never to look younger than I am. There’s nothing wrong with lines, wrinkles, scars, and imperfections. They are all part of the human experience. My aim is simply to look as healthy as I can for the age that I am. And that’s what I want for you too.
If you are looking for ways to get started, I share plenty of tips and techniques on my app, my YouTube channel, and via Instagram. For a more in-depth introduction to Face Yoga, I offer a ten-day course. It comes with a free PDF copy of my book, Danielle Collins’ Face Yoga, and has everything you need to make face yoga a regular part of your daily routine.