Tsuboki Facial Massage & Reflexology

In Eastern cultures and wellness practices, health and beauty are not seen as separate but one in the same. When a person is in a state of true health, both their energetic appearance and physical appearance radiates. Since meridians flow around the body (including the face), if a person’s being is not balanced or in a state of dis-ease it will often show in the face.

Meridians are channels of energy that were discovered empirically in China roughly 3000 years ago. Although they are not physical entities, they can be proved scientifically by measuring lowered electrical resistance on the surface of the skin where these meridians run - and also a change in resistance where the points (tsubos) are. 

The energy that flows through them is known as Ki in Japanese (Chi in Chinese). Basic TCM theory states that if the energy is flowing well, then the person is healthy. If the energy is blocked or stagnant, this is the precursor to disease. The flow of Ki through the meridians is affected by many things - the environment, pollution, weather, what we consume, and even what we think. By affecting the tsubos along a meridian, you can potentially affect the flow of energy of that meridian throughout the entire body. 

Most of the meridians are named after organs of the body, but each meridian also has associations with certain tissue types in the body and also with an emotion. For example, the Bladder meridian is associated with hair, teeth, nails (“hard” tissues of the body), and fear. If your bladder energy is depleted, you may have split ends on your hair, weak nails, feel timid, fearful, or phobic. Or if you are in a situation which is causing you fear, this can deplete your bladder energy.

Japanese facial massage is a combination of Anma techniques (rubbing) and Acupressure techniques. When we work on tsubos, or acupressure points, on a particular meridian, we have the possibility of influencing the flow of energy throughout the whole meridian. 

Tsuboki Japanese facial massage and reflexology can improve the appearance of the face and skin by working both the surface and deep musculature, as well as the skin. By working on 8 of the 14 main meridians in the body, we are affecting the health of the whole person. If we help the energy to become more balanced and flowing, the face will naturally become more radiant.

Stimulating the tsubos activates facial nerves, thus increasing the flow of Ki, and blood, to the face. 


Why Facial Massage?

The face is a complex network of muscles which are used for basic movements like smiling, chewing, laughing, speaking, sneezing, and yawning. As a result the facial muscles are almost in constant used begins to collect tension, just like any other muscle of the body. Eventually this constant use causes constriction of muscle tissue and decreased circulation to the surface tissues. When blood is unable to circulate properly through these tissues, the facial tissue near the surface begins to change due to a loss of its natural elasticity.


Benefits of Facial Massage:

  1. improves venous and lymphatic circulation
  2. desquamation (removal of surface adhesions)
  3. youthful rejuvenation through stimulation of cellular function
  4. relaxes muscles
  5. increases vascular activity
  6. tightens and tones the skin by stimulating the facial nerves
  7. helps make the facial muscles more expressive
  8. increases removal of waste products from the face/skin
  9. relaxes the mind
  10. it feels good!


Contraindications for Tsuboki facial massage and reflexology:

  1. hypersensitive skins (can be temporary, as in a sunburn)
  2. extremely vascular skins (could dilate blood vessels further leading to aggravation)
  3. acute inflammation or swelling 
  4. infections skin conditions or contagious illness
  5. diabetes/long term steroids (if skin is very thin)
  6. severe acne
  7. recent surgery on neck or face —> must obtain written clearance from your doctor prior to treatment


Precautions. Notify your Sabai Studio provider prior to beginning treatment if any of the following apply:

  1. you wear contact lenses
  2. pregnancy (meridians and tsubos can be eliminative, therefore certain portions of treatment would be avoided and/or modified)
  3. injections/fillers in the face less than 3 weeks ago
  4. epilepsy (pressure and techniques will be modified)
  5. recent dental work
  6. hearing aids (either remove, or massage can be modified)
  7. frail, elderly, chronically ill patients