Massage doesn’t just feel good, it’s good for you! According to the American Massage Therapy association, massage helps improve circulation, aides in digestion, speeds healing, lessens tension headaches, reduces insomnia, and alleviates anxiety. Some even say that by brigning awareness to your body, massage can help weight maintenance.
If you can’t book an appointment with a massage therapist, you can still reap the benefits by making self massage part of your healthy living routine. Learn to harness the power of touch in your own hands with some easy self massage techniques and your body and mind will thank you.
Self-massage is simple. No special equipment is needed, just your hands, some oil or lotion to reduce friction on the skin, and a few minutes of spare time. Self-massage therapy is most effective when you can make it part of your routine several times each week. Read on for some basic self massage tips then get to the fun part… practicing!
Self massage techniques
First, ask yourself where you feel tense. It’s a good idea to begin in these places. Remember to always use slow, gentle pressure. “No pain, no gain,” is not necessarily the rule in self massage.
Experiment by pressing a thumb or finger on a sore area. Try using hands in flat broad strokes to apply pressure to larger muscles. For example, self massage legs by stroking shin firmly with the flat of your palm. Also, try kneading and squeezing achy muscles to release tension. For example, self massage the neck region by squeezing gently just under the hairline.
It’s very important to breathe during a self massage. Holding the breath or struggling too much creates tension and stiffness. Along the same lines, try not to flex muscles while massaging. The more you breathe and relax, the more tension you will release. When finished massaging, always remember to drink water. Drinking water helps flush the body of toxins that were released during the massage.
If you’re not sure where and when to start self massage, begin when you wake up in the morning by gently thumping the outside of your body. Work from top to bottom gently thumping arms and legs. This movement will help relax nerve endings and ready your body and mind for the day. Doing the same technique before going to bed at night works out the tension built up throughout the day.
Self massage can be done anywhere. Try these self massage techniques while stuck in traffic, at your desk, after a workout, or while watching TV. Before you know it, self-massage will become habit—one that you wont want to give up.