The first thing you need to know about me – love me a good massage! I can not recommend it more highly for de-stressing.
But I understand there are times when it is just not available or in the budget. So what can you do then… do it yourself!
Self massage can give you relief from stress and pain. You don’t even need expensive equipment or much training.
Here are some quick self massage lessons including benefits, basic techniques, and tools.
Benefits of Self Massage
Speed up your recovery from surgery or injury. Talk with your doctor or physical therapist about using massage as an aid in your recovery. This has been part of my past recovery of plantar fasciitis and my current recovery of knee surgery and the year spent on crutches.
Relieve strain from computer work. Pounding the keyboard all day can leave you feeling stiff. Although you may feel a lot of this tension in your forearms, it may originate in your shoulders. OHHH do I know this, just last week I was really feeling the pain after two days of some very repetitive work.
- Try kneading your shoulders for a few minutes. Stretch by slowly raising your shoulders to your ears and moving your shoulders in slow circles forward and backward.
- Cup a hand around the back of your neck and rub gently.
Cure insomnia and headaches. Is tension keeping you up at night or making your head hurt? This just feels good!
- Gently rub your temples with your fingertips. Move your fingers in tiny circles all along your forehead and scalp.
Basic Techniques for Self Massage
- Create a comfortable space. Clear out a roomy area where you can move around easily. Playing soft music or lighting scented candles or incense for aromatherapy may help you relax. The secret here is quiet and comfortable. This could be the living room or your bedroom.
- Protect your hands and joints. While giving self-massage, let your fingers and wrists fall into a neutral position whenever possible.
- Start off easy. Begin with light, smooth strokes. Move slowly be mindful of what you are doing and how it is feeling.
- Add pressure gradually. Fit your hand around the body part you’re massaging. Add pressure in tiny increments as your body warms up and you reach deeper into the muscle.
- Apply massage evenly. Give each side of your body similar treatment. For example, if you rub your right foot for 10 minutes, give your left foot the same attention.
- Stretch. Stretch out the muscle you’ve been working on. Extend no further than a position you can hold comfortably for a few minutes.
- Savasana – End the session by completely relaxing into the Savasana or Corpse pose to ground yourself.
Self Massage Equipment and Tools
Tennis ball. Much like specialized props, a tennis ball can go to work on areas like your lower back where your hands may have trouble reaching. Lie down with a tennis ball under the small of your back and rock your hips until you target the right spot. I found this really cool ball that has spikes and looks like a porcupine, it works great on the hard to reach lower back and shoulder blades.
Massage rollers and balls. These props help increase circulation and stimulate your tissue while your hands do less work. They also help you get at hard to reach areas. I really like the wooden foot massagers you can get, really helps with the plantar fasciitis. There are also some great massagers to do you calves and hamstrings.
Hot Oils. Heated massage oils are a nice treat. You can buy self-heating formulas or just pop the bottle into the microwave or hot water for a short time. Oils make your work easier by reducing friction. If you like, they can also add fragrance while they moisturize your skin. Or choose neutral oil such as jojoba or almond.
Self massage is as simple as using your own hands or some inexpensive equipment. Just 15 minutes every day will make you feel wonderful and definitely lead to being less stressed. I am a firm believer in self care and self nurturing, I think that many of us have forgotten how to do the simple little things to make ourselves feel better.
what are you waiting for? go find a quiet place and start with your templates!