Understanding the importance of neck care
This past weekend I was so honored to take a class taught the brilliant Cecily Braden and Angela Peck. If you don’t know who these ladies are, they are some of the most esteemed leaders in the holistic esthetician education world. They host supportive, expanding workshops on everything from Gua Sha, lessons in traditional Chinese medicine, lymphatic drainage technique, Thai herbal poultice face massage, and everything in between. The class was so elevating and I was honored to surround myself with so many holistic estheticians who were looking to bring more intuitive modalities to their practices. Along with deepening my education on Gua Sha, there was a resounding theme that I felt I needed to share in this week’s blog. Most people think that skin care is just based on what our faces need. What about our neck? A lot of our neck health can be an indicator or the root of skin imbalance manifestation. Today I want to talk about the importance of neck care and how it will benefit your skin.
When treating the skin, it's important to connect to the neck
Proper neck care will help reflect great skin health
For as long as I can remember in my esthetic career, we’ve been taught next to nothing about the neck. The conversation usually goes into two parts:
As part of a marketing tactic to sell products for the neck area by discussing the fear of wrinkles, turkey neck, or breakouts on the neck.
A slight discussion of our obvious overuse of this crucial part of our body. We all seem to walk around with a slight to severe tension in our necks from driving, computer work, poor sleep support, not enough massage, and the joys of being attached to our smartphones all the time.
Do you ever stop and think about how the neck holds our heads and how the neck is the portal of the face to the rest of our bodies? The best example we discussed yesterday was one of a funnel and how if a funnel gets lodged, there is no flow. The stuff needing to go through just sits at the very top floating around without much movement. Think about all the activity on the face to begin with and how the potential of waste back up would have to make it’s way out somehow. If the lymphatic system is already trying to flush out waste that the blood tissue can’t carry out and if the lymph gets blocked of flow - it will start to move through however it can. Lymph fluid does a great job of picking up excess hormones and melanin that is no longer needed in the system. It does a great job of breaking up any sort of protein accumulation in the body but once lymph gets stuck, that is usually another indicator that the lymph itself can become a blockage. So back to the funnel, if the fluid that is supposed to move through the neck of the funnel is blocked, there will be back up on the head of the funnel and it can’t move until you release the blockage.
How do you do that?
Since good flow in our lymphatic system will equal a healthy skin glow, it's important to acknowledge the areas that often get the most tension and stiffness. I would start by taking an inventory of how your neck feels and looks like at the moment. Without judgment or criticism, start to focus on if you are feeling a tension, irritation, build up, or if you feel slightly sluggish. I remember in both dance class and choir class, I had to have great posture as vocals come out best when your neck is straight and who wants a slouchy ballerina? Having a teacher to remind me to roll my shoulders back and stretch made a huge difference so I could have a reminder of what my body felt like when it was in alignment and straight. If you’re not sure how to start with this, I would suggest starting with a massage therapist, chiropractor, yoga instructor, or simply line yourself up against a wall with a mirror and see where you are at. Even the most crooked of spines can be helped with the right support system.
Once you start to notice this and can feel the physical difference of how it feels to be straight vs. out of alignment, you can start to catch yourself in the habits that tend to make your neck overwork. For me, it’s both my writing on the computer all the time and my work as a facialist. I’m always looking slightly down or directly at a screen. I make it a point to roll my shoulders back and breathe. If I feel short of breath, or like I can’t really fill myself up with lots of oxygen, that’s when I know I’m out of alignment. I imagine a string from my crown chakra just gently pulling me up and all of a sudden I can visualize all of my additional chakras aligning. I feel more focus, in tune, aligned, open, vibrant etc.
When I started doing facial reflexology, I was blown away with how one of the main areas we use botox for (the 11’s in between the eyebrows) is actually connected to the nervous system points to our neck. I started taking my own unofficial survey of clients feedback by guessing which side of the neck they feel the most tension from based off of their most dominant creasing, and so far, I am 100% accurate. There is so much valuable information in our faces that sometimes, we if we look to nutrition, hormones, and skincare only - we miss some major communication from just our nervous system. One of the best ways to soften the appearances of our 11’s is by massaging them, massaging our bodies, stretching, supporting ourselves with self-care, and getting a little more rest. We don’t have to fix by erasing things because, in the end, we end up diminishing the signal that could be instrumental in our whole body health.
Most importantly...kindness towards yourself will reflect out the radiance always. It’s easy to compartmentalize each organ, or even, each individual part of our skin - but we must remember that there are endless meridians that run through our body flowing our lifeforce energy (Qi). Blockages are bound to happen, especially in our modern day, but there are so many more gentle ways to reduce their overall effect on the body. Be gentle, sleep more, find the gratitude in the messaging, and start with a loving routine.
I’m so excited to be incorporating more Gua Sha in my treatments so don’t be surprised if I am working a little more on the neck coming up in your next visits. Next month I’ll also be filming my second online program with more at home techniques to support your intentional skincare rituals. That will include an at home massage technique incorporating some tools and reflexology points. But until then, remember to keep your funnel flowing well so that your skin doesn’t have to overflow with more work than it already has to do. Nothing is permanent either with the skin so keep your hopes up that a little mindset shift can brighten your complexion so you can feel like your vibrate self again soon.
Thanks so much for reading and I look forward to sharing more of my class with you soon.
xo - Hayley