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Kobido Massage: Balancing the Body, Mind, and Spirit

Kobido Massage: Balancing the Body, Mind, and Spirit

masage Kobido

The world of modern beauty tends to take some of its best beauty secrets from the past. In Japanese beauty culture, healthy skin is much more than a flawless face. It’s been said that a truly beautiful face glows from within. 

Healthy skin is the result of a combination of outside influences like proper skincare and the environment and inner influences that stem from a focus on mental health and physical well-being.

Many factors can affect the skin including overexposure to the sun, stress, pollution, alcohol, drugs, and tobacco use. Japanese women find that beautiful skin is pure white without spots, which is why it is not uncommon to see Japanese women walking around with umbrellas to shield their faces from the sun. 

To combine physical health, natural beauty, and mental well-being,  Japanese beauty rituals incorporate practices like massage into an all-inclusive skincare routine.

Today, the beauty world is focused on Kobido, an ancestral Japanese technique dating back to the 1600s that promises to rejuvenate the skin, act as a natural facelift, and suspend the aging process. Kobido massage is a Japanese facial massage that combines fast and slow movements to improve the deep circulation of the face, neck, and shoulders. These movements activate circulation, destroy dead skin cells, and promote the production of collagen, ultimately revealing a youthful glow.

What is Kobido Massage?

Kobido, a Japanese word meaning ”old way of beauty”,  is a Japanese technique that combines stimulating facial and neck massage with aesthetic care.  The technique involves a choreography of artistic movements performed on the face, from the hairline to the neckline. Kobido allows the practitioner to provide a relaxing massage to the nervous and energetic systems at the same time using acupressure techniques performed on the skull, face, neck, and periphery of the eyes utilizing  a drainage technique with a bamboo stick.

Derived from Anma, the ancestor of shiatsu massage, Kobido is more than a facial – it promotes blood circulation, using pressure, vibration, percussion, and tapping to strengthen the muscles and tone of the face. This anti-aging technique, particularly appreciated by mature skin, is known in Japan as a natural facelift. 

How it works

During a Kobido session, which normally lasts approximately 90 minutes, the face is cleansed, moisturized, and energized through the stimulation of your meridians. This beauty ritual starts with gentle pressure on the face and continues with a harmonious mix of kneading, pinching, palpating, rolling, rhythmic, and regular hand percussion.

Kobido massage uses precise and desynchronized gestures, requiring experience and great mastery, and incorporates several, equally important, steps.

1 - A Kobido massage begins with a deep cleansing and exfoliation to oxygenate the skin.

2 - The next step involves the application of an easy texture massage oil gently applied to the décolleté area with the fingers. Natural serums with pure active ingredients such as hyaluronic acid or collagen are used to facilitate gliding and friction.

3 - To stimulate blood circulation, the face is massaged using slow, soft, and unhurried movements along the chin and cheekbones to the ears, first on the left side, the Yang side, said to be connected to the organs. This is then followed by the same message on the right, the Yin side, linked to the viscera.  

4 - Alternating stroking is applied with the palm of the hand with upward movements, launching lymph drainage.

5 - The nasolabial folds are gently massaged using circular manipulation with the index fingers in a figure-eight formation. This technique is extremely effective for vertical lines between the eyes, commonly referred to as “11” lines.

6 - The session is completed with gentle stroking downwards from the center of the forehead and the contours in the neck.

All muscles are worked on 10 to 15 times.   

Benefits of Kobido

The incredible lifting effect of Kobido massage helps rebalance the circulation of energy to the face and neck, improving skin hydration, elasticity, and firmness.

Activating blood circulation and the natural production of collagen, the technique reduces deep wrinkles and results in an illuminated complexion and impressively rejuvenated skin tone. Additionally, Kobido massage brings great relaxation to the nervous system, thus erasing the signs of fatigue, stress, headaches, and insomnia. 

With regular practice, Kobido delivers numerous benefits including:

  • Erased evidence of fatigue
  • Redesigned facial contour
  • Tightened pores
  • Improved circulation
  • Stimulated lymphatic flow
  • Diminished expression lines
  • Stimulated nervous system
  • A balanced flow of energy
  • Relief from headaches and migraines
  • Reduced jaw joint pain
  • Removes puffy eyelids and bags
  • Decreased stress and anxiety
  • Decreased fluid retention


Prevention is key

In addition to ancient Japanese practices like Kobido massages, it is important to practice regular skincare routines and maintain a healthy lifestyle on a daily basis.

Japanese beauty rituals are based on simple prevention rather than complicated repair based on the minimalistic concept of soboku-biyo, which literally translates to simple beauty. 

Good internal hydration from what we eat and drink is one of the simplest ways to slow down the signs of time.  A healthy diet and lifestyle also contribute to the health of the skin. 

In addition to diet and environmental factors, a daily ritual that incorporates all-natural skincare products is another essential part of any beauty regime.  Making your beauty ritual ceremonious each day,   making it a pleasurable time for oneself, a moment of Zen, is yet another additive to an effective skincare regime.  

Take away

In Japan, taking care of one's health from an early age is seen as a duty, an essential ingredient in a recipe for healthy skin. Incorporating Kobido massage into the overall practice of Japanese beauty rituals, designed to balance the mind, body, and spirit, helps to create naturally beautiful and healthy skin that glows from within.

 Author: Eileen Honey Strauss

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