What Is a Buccal Massage and Does It Really Work?

Buccal massage
Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / guvo59

Buccal massage is the latest innovation in skincare to help us in our quest for eternal youth. Does it work? And what does the science say? Find out more.

A buccal massage differs from a facial massage in that it targets areas from the inside out. Yes, that means hands inside your mouth! Many celebrities are flocking to receive the treatment — rousing public interest too. Buccal massage originated as a holistic technique created by a French skincare therapist called Joëlle Ciocco almost 40 years ago, but it has gained quite a bit of popularity in recent years.

Ciocco is an advocate of holistic skincare — combining skincare techniques with lifestyle and nutrition. She developed buccal massage to stretch the muscle inside and outside the mouth as an anti-aging approach. Esteemed glossy fashion and glamour mags like Elle and Coveteur list an array of celebrities — from Meghan Markle to Anna Shay — that are queuing up for the treatment.

Buccal Massage Technique

Some buccal massage techniques are used to relieve jaw tension.
Some buccal massage techniques are used to relieve jaw tension. (Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / Sammy-Sander)

Buccal massage techniques involve pressure points manipulation and gliding movements with the fingers to stimulate lymphatic flow and other trigger points inside and outside the mouth and face. The therapy involves two phases: the sculptural phase and the deep tissue phase. During the first sculptural phase, the therapist manually sculpts the face and works on imperfections —  like a double chin, sagging cheeks and eyelids, lowered mouth corners, and wrinkles.

The second, deep tissue phase, involves the therapist massaging inside the mouth wearing thin, sterile gloves. The muscles and other points are manipulated and stimulated using different methods with the fingers.

Several variations of buccal and intra-oral massage are available for medical reasons as well as for cosmetic ones. TMJ— or temporomandibular joint massage, is one example. It specifically targets the tissue connecting the jaw to the skull to release tension and treat associated disorders of these areas. This technique involves having the areas surrounding the TMJ massaged and may include massage of the gums and roof of the mouth.

Claimed Benefits of Buccal Massage

Buccal massage is growing in popularity.
Buccal massage is growing in popularity. (Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / Komarova_Anastasiya)

Many fashion and beauty journalists, celebrities, and buccal massage practitioners cite an array of benefits associated with buccal massage therapy. The most commonly reported benefits include:

  • Relieving jaw tension and headaches
  • Facial rejuvenation
  • Improved complexion
  • Targets drooping
  • Natural face-lifting effects
  • Contouring and sculpting of the neck, chin and cheeks
  • Anti-aging
  • Eliminates muscle spasms
  • Improves muscle tone
  • Eliminates mimic wrinkles and sagging
  • Eliminates blockages, clamps, stress, and anxiety
  • Eliminates swellings, under eye bags

Contraindications to buccal massage include: 

  • Acute skin diseases
  • Skin integrity damage — from burns, wounds, cuts etc
  • Bruises
  • Skin infections
  • Malignant tumors
  • Lesions on the face or in the mouth
  • Pregnancy

Buccal Up For The Science

Scientific evidence is lacking.
Scientific evidence is lacking. (Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / Kjerstin_Michaela)

The gold standard of scientific evidence is a form of research called a randomized control trial. Unfortunately, no such research has been carried out to investigate the claimed benefits of buccal massage. In fact, very little valid and reliable data exists to support these claims.

However, some studies have found that intra-oral massage can improve the symptoms associated with jaw and TMJ dysfunction. Intra-oral myofascial therapy is a massage technique resembling buccal massage. It, too, manipulates trigger points in the mouth and has also shown benefits in the management of temporomandibular disorder and superiority over self-care and education approaches.

Facial massage has also been linked to an array of benefits, including reduced stress and improved mood, improved skin tone and turgor, and anti-aging effects (confirmed on CT). It is also worth noting that routine facial rejuvenating treatment has shown instant side-effects — like redness and swelling — and long-term side-effects — like dermatitis and acneiform eruption — in about one-third of people.

Buccal massage shares several elements of a routine facial massage and TMJ massage and may share similar benefits, but it does have independent and different adaptations. Therefore, until valid data emerges to support or refute claimed benefits, we only have subjective claims of ‘facelifts without surgery’ to go by to date.

A Final ‘Massage’ From The Planet

Natural ingredients contain potent plant compounds for improved skin condiion.
Natural ingredients contain potent plant compounds for improved skin condiion. (Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / kerdkanno)

As the reality of how we have depleted the earth’s natural resources now manifests as natural disasters, global warming, and an angry planet, the ideology of conscious consumerism is rapidly emerging. For many of us, aging will not be an issue if we have no planet to grow old on, and the goods and services we consume undoubtedly impact the future of the environment.

A buccal massage will cost in the region of $300-$500. To date, the latest trend in cosmetic beauty lacks any scientific foundation; however, we always respect personal choice, and you may want to try it out for yourself.

Before you do, why not check out some natural and much less expensive alternatives for younger-looking skin? Our home remedies for blackheads, turmeric face-mask recipes, avocado-honey face-mask recipe, and DIY peel-off face-masks all use natural ingredients that have scientifically-supported benefits because of their natural plant compounds. They are also very inexpensive!

You might even have the secret ingredients to younger-looking skin at your fingertips. Coconut oil has been shown to enhance skin barrier function and regeneration, and you can use aloe vera on your face with no drawbacks too. There are many ways to achieve successful skin care.

The resounding message is that skincare doesn’t have to cost a fortune, carry side effects, or damage the planet. Check out your kitchen cupboards and a few of our articles before running out to make an appointment for a buccal massage.

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