To complement the MASSAGE Magazine article, “Keep Clients Feeling Fresh: Facial Massage with Cups,” by Keren Trabelsi, in the February 2013 issue. Article summary: As a professional massage therapist, it is a wise decision to be knowledgeable about anti-aging treatment options for your clients. Facial-cupping massage is one modality to consider.

Lymphatic Japanese Massage Strokes, MASSAGE MagazineAsian facial massage supports attaining beauty from the inside out. In China, Japan and India, facial and scalp massage with oils is deeply embedded in the traditional ancient healing arts of tuina, shiatsu and ayurvedic bodywork.

Modern Western culture places an enormous amount of emphasis on facial beauty. So much so, it has become an obsession. It is estimated women spend, on average, 300 hours a year in front of a cosmetic mirror. Asian facial massage goes beyond the superficial facial beauty we see in the mirror to promote constitutional health and longevity as well. A basic principle is: Your outside reflects your inner state of health.

Health in Asia is all about balance, harmony and the free flow of universal life energy. Whether the practitioner is practicing Japanese, Chinese or ayurvedic bodywork, he is backed by ancient traditional medicine that focuses on the causes of diseases and their prevention.

Acupressure performed on shoulder meridians to open up universal energy for blood and lymph flow.

Because Asian medical philosophy emphasizes the connection between body, mind and spirit, the effects of a facial massage are much deeper and longer lasting. These are major benefits compared to Western cosmetic medicine, which is still largely based on signs and symptoms and tends to focus on the outside, visible part of the client.

Such an outlook tends to create more generic treatments because it misses the uniqueness of the individual. Therefore, the wealth of knowledge as embodied by the Asian body-mind-spirit concept allows the therapist to focus on the individual and her unique needs.

The body-mind-spirit concept, also known as the holistic concept, is also embodied in the model of health that Asian medicine uses to evaluate a client. Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, for example, classify patients according to constitutional types that embody all the characteristics of the holistic concept. In general, the Asian concept of true beauty is based on health, whereas the Western concept is based on disease and ill health.

In Western medicine, the ideal of health is a fixed, static one of perfect health. In Oriental medicine, the image of health is a dynamic one where the individual always strives for balance between mind, body, emotions and spirit. Yet, this balance is always shifting because of an adaptation process to daily stress from the social, work and physical environments. This is reflected in the face and the skin of the individual, according to Asian medicine.

There is a common approach in Asian cosmetic medicine to evaluate the state of the mind by focusing on the emotions. For example, according to the Yellow Emperor’s Guide to Internal Medicine and Sanskrit writings, the most important cause of disease or health is the state of the mind of the patient. Fortunately for the practitioner, each emotion is linked to a meridian and acupressure point or points, which can be tested.

The key to balancing the mind, body and spirit then lies in the moving and increase of universal life energy (prana, qi or ki) by tapping into this grid of meridians and acupressure points. Only then are all the physiological and anatomical systems, including the skin and face, in balance. The skin begins to glow and the vitality of the client then shines in their eyes.


Chinese Qigong Massage, by Dr. Yang Jwing-Ming and Alan Dougall (YMAA Publication Center, 1994); The Handbook of Chinese Massage, by Maria Mercati (Gaia Books Limited, 1997); The Complete Book of Shiatsu Therapy, by Toru Namikoshi (Japan Publications Limited, 1981); Chinese Tuina Therapy, by Wang Fu (Foreign Language Press, 1994).

Wolfgang Luckmann ( is a licensed acupuncture physician and massage therapist practicing in Fernandina Beach, Florida. He inspires his patients by encouraging them to participate in acupuncture, massage and qigong. When he is not practicing, he is teaching continuing education courses for massage therapists and acupuncturists at schools and privately. Currently, he teaches 15 continuing education courses throughout the U.S. He was educated in South Africa as a high school teacher before coming to the U.S.