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Byline: with Noreen Barr

YOU don't have to spend a fortune on expensive creams and treatments to give your skin a lift and reduce those fine lines and wrinkles, when facial massage at home will do the trick.

There are more than 90 muscles in the face and, like any other muscles in the body, they should be used on a daily basis to keep them mobile and toned.

To release the strain that the muscles in your face and neck encounter every day, and to help slow down the ageing process, you should incorporate facial massage into your daily routine, according to acclaimed Indian massage therapists Narendra and Kundan Mehta.

The couple run the London Centre of Indian Champissage, which specialises in Indian head and facial massage, and have devised a self-help treatment called facial rejuvenation which, they say, can give you a natural facelift.

Massage can restore suppleness by helping to untangle collagen and elastin fibres, which improves skin elasticity and helps lift up the face.

Here's a five-step facelift to try at home:

1. Look up to stretch your neck. Using the back of both hands, sweep upwards all the way around the front of the neck for about half a minute, to tone the region.

2. From the jawbone, sweep upwards with the back of your index and middle fingers towards the temporal mandibular joint which is by the ear.

Repeat on the other side of your face. Hold the skin at this joint for 10 seconds. Repeat five times and then move on to the other side of the face.

This helps reduce bagginess developing around the jawline.

3. Using the pads of the index and middle finger of your left hand, on the left side of the face, sweep from the top of the nose bridge across the cheeks and up to the top of the ears. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat on the other side. This helps to lift the cheeks.

4. Make a V shape with your index and middle fingers and close your eyes. Place your index finger just below the eyebrow and your middle finger below the eye itself. Use the pads of the fingers to gently sweep across the eye. Continue the movement into the hairline and hold. This helps reduce bags.

5. Using three or four fingers, sweep up your forehead into the hairline. Begin at one temple and continue across to the other one. This helps reduce lines across your forehead.

There are other massage techniques which are designed to help particular problems, such as deep lines on either side of the mouth, crow's feet around the eyes and double chins and jowl, plus massage to help the complexion.

You can give yourself a short massage to help lymphatic drainage and improve the condition of the skin on your face, while also leaving you feeling relaxed -and if you do the exercises regularly you'll soon notice the difference.

"You may find that certain areas in your neck feel a little swollen but this is normal as it means that toxins have been moved to the lymph nodes where they can be neutralised, " says Narendra.

When massaging yourself, you may need to rub some oil into the palms of your hands to help them slide easily over your face. Use a base oil such as sesame or almond, or a few drops of olive oil. But don't use any additional oils if you have greasy skin.

It is also possible to do facial acupressure on yourself, stimulating certain points by pressing down with the tip of your thumb or finger, so encouraging qi (vital energy) to flow more freely.

One technique involves stroking the face with very light pressure from the fingertips, while another uses the thumb tip or fingertip as a pump on the skin for about two minutes.

Acupressure is of most benefit when performed regularly, ideally once a week. If you are treating yourself, remember to relax and breathe slowly.

Don't worry if you can't find the exact points, because applying pressure to the skin surface will not only stimulate the local nerves and tissues but will also transmit a subtle energy throughout your whole body. All these techniques and more are featured in the Mehtas' new book, The Art Of Indian Face Massage.

Kundan says: "Facial massage is a valuable tool in resisting age-related changes. First of all, massage helps to relax the facial muscles.

"Muscular tension can restrict the blood vessels and obstruct the free flow of blood and other fluids to the tissues, so reducing the amount of nourishment the skin receives and preventing the removal of waste products.

"With massage, you can work the connective tissue to make space for the muscles to return to normal size, so releasing tension."


CREAM FREE: Get the massage
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Oct 28, 2001
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