No time to head to the nearest spa and treat yourself to a massage? Don’t fret. You can still relax and get rid of all tensions you are feeling through self-massage. Every time you feel a tension in your back or feel knotted muscles in your neck, there are certain bodywork techniques you can do yourself to ease your pains.
Self-Massage Benefits and Techniques
When you can’t visit the spa and don’t have anyone to give you a massage, self-massage is the next best thing. Every time you are on the brink of exhaustion, massage will be your greatest antidote to stress.
Tutors from a leading school of massage therapy share below some of the many health benefits self-massage offers:
- Releases tension and relaxes muscles
- Improves circulation and reduces blood pressure
- Increases oxygen and blood flow to tissues
- Stimulates energy pathways in the body which can prevent health problems and return balance to the body
- Increases flexibility
- Lessens anxiety and depression
- Alleviates headaches or migraines
- Boosts immune system
- Releases endorphins for natural pain relief
To fully enjoy the benefits of self-massage, find a quiet place and take deep breaths. Once you start feeling calm, give yourself some TLC with these techniques:
1. Eye Massage
Working for long hours in front of a computer or reading can exhaust your eyes. If you don’t want to develop some visual problems and miss out on the beauty of the world, provide your eyes with the best care through this self-massage.
- Warm your palms by blowing on them and then cup them over your closed eyes.
- With your eyes still closed, place your thumbs and move them in a circular motion above your eye sockets.
- Massage the area of the temples and eyebrows gently.
- At the bridge of the nose and junction of the eyebrows, rotate the muscles with your thumbs gently as well.
- Repeat this procedure for three to four times whenever you feel your eyes are tired.
2. Head or Scalp Massage
A head or scalp massage is something you can perform anywhere and anytime when you want to loosen up and feel refreshed.
- Position the heel of your palms below your hair on either side of your head close to your temples.
- Push your scalp gently going up then hold it for a few seconds then release.
- Do the same in sections throughout your entire scalp.
Head and scalp massage can also help relieve headaches and fatigue. Here are some tips for doing this:
- Apply pressure gently to your temple area using your thumbs.
- Using firm pressure, make circular motions with your thumbs and fingers. Continue slowly by progressing towards the middle of your forehead.
- Make sure to cover the entire scalp area while massaging firmly.
- Repeat this massage twice to clear built-up pressure.
3. Neck Massage
If you’re a hardworking person, you’ll be in for a surprise on the amount of knotted muscles you’ll find in your neck area. Soothe your neck pains by relaxing your muscles and removing all the kinks by following these self-massage steps:
- Place the palm of your left hand on the back of your neck.
- Make sure that your thumb is parallel with your other fingers
- Gently squeeze your neck then turn your head slowly going to the right.
- Hold your breath once.
- Return your head to the center and slowly turn going to the left.
- Repeat this massage for five to seven times in both directions until you feel relaxed.
Make sure that you’re not pinching or squeezing your neck too much and apply just enough pressure to feel the release of the muscles.
4. Shoulder Massage
Slouching forward for too long can make your shoulders feel tight. You can get rid of the uncomfortable tightness of your shoulders with self-massage.
For a more relaxing experience, try incorporating some massage oils. Their fragrance will help calm your mind and they will also enable your hands to glide smoothly during reflexology.
- Start by dropping your shoulders.
- Stretch your neck by tucking your chin slowly to your chest.
- Place two or three of your fingertips at the back of your neck where your shoulders and neck meet.
- Press firmly then hold.
- Release once you feel that your muscles are relaxing.
- Move your shoulders forward and backward slowly.
- Repeat this massage whenever you feel some tension in your shoulders.
5. Hand Massage
Tired of countless paperwork and typing too much? Relax your hands by following these steps.
- Join your hands and rub the heels against each other.
- Entwine your fingers then massage your thumb with the other.
- Press each of your finger and the area in between them. Make sure your thumb presses and covers all the pressure points.
- Massage the area between your thumb and index finger to ease your body tension.
6. Lower Back Massage
The easiest and simplest way to ease lower back pains is to make a fist and lightly pummel your lower back with quick movements.
If you have a tennis ball, use it to relieve your lower back pains:
- Place the tennis ball on the floor then lie on it. Make sure to position your ball between the floor and your back.
- Move your body up and down, side to side slowly to massage any areas experiencing muscle tightness.
- Press the ball hard not to feel pain but enough to squish it.
- A few minutes of rolling your lower back with a tennis ball is sufficient.
- Don’t overdo tennis ball rolling to avoid aggravating your tissues and possibly injuring your spine.
7. Foot Massage
After a long day of walking, running or hiking, your feet also deserves some care.
- Take one foot with your both hands and stroke firmly from toes to ankle. Repeat this process three to four times.
- Squeeze the sole of your foot well and massage the toes and the area in between.
- Pressure points are in the toes so make sure to take extra care in those areas.
- Repeat the process on your other foot.
You can also use a tennis ball to massage your foot by following these steps.
- Sit down and roll your tennis ball under the whole surface of your foot including the arch, heel, and toes.
- Roll the ball back and forth with slight pressure.
Self-massage is a bit cumbersome at first. But with constant practice, you’ll eventually figure out which strokes suit your body well. There are also massage therapy courses you can take to enhance your skills, too.
Written By: Marc Innes
Marc Innes is the Owner and Principal of the School of Natural Therapies, a training school for Massage & Holistic Therapies located in London. Marc began his career in the NHS, working in a number of managerial and training roles within the Ambulance Service in London. He spent much of that time educating and coaching medical staff. Over time, he developed an interest in all things complementary to Allopathic Medicine, in particular, Reiki Healing and EFT, which culminated in running a successful teaching and ‘energy healing’ practice. Marc is passionate about the massage and complementary therapy industry.