By the end of the nineteenth century massage was widely practiced in Europe, Britain and the United States. The skill level of practitioners varied wildly, running from individuals who did little more than rub the skin, to trained masseurs, masseuses and members of the medical profession.Medically, massage was generally combined with exercise and manipulations to form what is often called mechanotherapy. It was also used in conjunction with other physical therapies that were also popular at the time, like hydrotherapy, electrotherapy, phototherapy and thermotherapy. The massage system used was ‘Swedish’ massage – also known as ‘classical’ massage – a method developed by Per Henrik Ling from traditional Chinese medicine. From it, we get the well-known techniques of effleurage (stroking), petrissage (lifting and kneading), friction (pressure), tapotement (tapping) and vibration (vibrating).Massage had also found its way into the domestic sphere. The Physical Culture movement was well developed by 1900 and books, magazines and newspapers promoted the health and beauty benefits of gymnastics and massage. Individuals could also select from a growing range of mechanical or electrical devices to bring the benefits of vibrational massage into the privacy of their home.Given all of these factors it is easy to see why massage was adopted by the rising number of beauty salons for use in treatments for the body, hands, feet and face, particularly when you realise that most professional massage was then, as now, carried out by women – either by nurses or specialist masseuses.What massage does [in a facial]
Exercises the muscles gently and makes the tissues firmer;
Brings about an improvement in the friction of the skin, thus causing an improvement in coloring and general appearance;
Increases nutrition by attracting blood to the surface;
Destroys effete matter and stimulates lymph channels in their work of carrying away this waste;
Stimulates the nerves to greater activity;
Increases blood and lymph supply by effect on nerves;
Eradicates superficial lines and imparts a more youthful expression to the face