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Raise your hand if you’ve ever woken up with a swollen, tight jaw and stiff neck. If you’ve made it here, we’ll go ahead and assume you fit the bill. The two areas are intimately connected (unwavering jaw tension will oftentimes travel along the neck), so why not knead all that discomfort away with a quick lymphatic massage?
As Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) expert Zoey Xinyi Gong demonstrates in a recent TikTok, a simple two-minute technique can “help you achieve a little more definition on the jawline and remove some of the water retention,” which typically leads to puffiness.
Not to mention, regular facial massage has been shown to increase blood flow to the face and deliver much-needed nutrients and oxygen to the skin cells—which, in turn, has been shown to help with fine lines, promote collagen synthesis, and even tone. (A helpful tidbit for anyone looking to prevent sagging skin on the neck.) It’s also a time you can slow down with your routine, ground yourself, and connect with your skin. And finally? It just feels so good.
While we’re all for massaging the face until it shines (see this 10-step routine if you have more time to spare), sometimes a short daily ritual is all it takes for lifted, toned results. Ahead, find Gong’s go-to massage for the jaw and neck.
A 2-minute lymphatic massage for your neck & jawline.
The first step, says Gong, is to grab a nice lotion or facial oil (we’re partial to this one by Pai). Spread it all over your hands, your fingertips, your jaw, your neck, and your collarbone area—essentially, everywhere you’re going to glide.
Once you’ve got some slip, follow the below:
- Make a peace sign with your fingers, then bend them so they appear hooked. Take those two fingers and attach them on the side of your chin (your index finger under your chin bone, your middle finger should be above). Squeeze the two fingers gently so they hug the bone with a light pressure. Do the same with your other hand and attach your two fingers to the same side of your jaw, mirroring the first hand.
- Then slide your fingers from your chin all the way up to your ear with even pressure. Once you reach under your ear, curve your fingers and drag them down the side of your neck.
- Once you reach your collarbone, Gong finishes by knocking her knuckles on the area. That’s because all of our lymph drains into that area (called the “terminus“). Nothing too rough—just light taps are all you need.
- Repeat the motion about 20 times before switching sides.
“Think pushing and lifting; and then pushing and draining; and then knocking and invigorating,” Gong explains. As for the pressure, she keeps a light yet steady hand: Her skin does turn a little pink, so you know she’s kneading the skin with some weight, but it shouldn’t ever feel painful.
If you’re looking to tone the jawline and melt away tension, this technique works like a charm. Just remember to use a moisturizer or oil before you slide across the skin (don’t be afraid to reapply if it starts to feel tacky), and keep a light to medium pressure.