Self massage can give you relief from stress and pain. You don’t even need expensive equipment or much training. Use this guide to learn more about self massage, including benefits, basic techniques, and tools.
Benefits of Self Massage
1. 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.
* 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.
2. Cure insomnia and headaches. Tension could be keeping you up at night or making your head hurt.
* Gently rub your temples with your fingertips. Move your fingers in tiny circles all along your forehead and scalp.
3. Speed up your recovery from surgery or injury. Talk with your doctor or physical therapist about using massage as an aid in your recovery. Browse online for information at the American Massage Therapy Association or visit a local library for ideas.
Basic Techniques for Self Massage
1. Get into position. Relax and take some deep breaths. Do gentle aerobics, like walking in place, lifting your knees up high with each step. Follow up with a few full body stretches.
2. 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.
3. Protect your hands and joints. While giving self-massage, let your fingers and wrists fall into a neutral position whenever possible. Also, change your strokes around as you work.
* Between massage sessions, use hand exercises to strengthen your grip. Squeeze a rubber ball or alternate flexing your fingers and forming a fist.
4. Start off easy. Begin with light, smooth strokes. Move slowly so you can back off immediately if you run into any pain or discomfort.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. Stretch. Complete your session by stretching out the muscle you’ve been working on. Extend no further than a position you can hold comfortably for a few minutes.
8. Talk with your doctor. If pain persists, see your doctor. A physical exam may be needed to diagnose the underlying cause of your discomfort.
Self Massage Equipment and Tools
1. Check out massage rollers and balls. Your hands can be adequate on their own, but you may like using tools, too. 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.
2. Use a 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.
3. Try adding 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.
4. Apply a heat pack. Heat packs are another great supplement to massage. Warming up a sore back can relieve pain with no potentially dangerous side effects.
Self massage is as simple as using your own hands or some inexpensive equipment. Even ten minutes of self massage can do wonders for your well-being. Get ready to knead your pain and stress away!