Massage therapy has been around for thousands of years, dating back to 3000 BCE in India. It was used during those times to relieve pain, heal injuries, and cure illnesses.
Massages are still very much prevalent, with many people going to day spas or massage therapists to receive treatment. However, sometimes it can be hard to make an appointment to receive a massage.
Why wait to book an appointment? Self massages provide as many benefits as one done by a massage therapist.
In this guide, we’ll go over the benefits of self-massage and techniques you can use when performing one on yourself.
The Health Benefits of Self Massages
Massages shouldn’t be something that you get every so often or on a special occasion. Implementing self massages into your daily routine provides your body with countless health and mental benefits.
Increased Blood Circulation
Many people suffer from poor circulation and experience cold feet and had, and achiness. As you massage your body, it promotes blood flow in congested areas. The blood flows into these areas, flushing lactic acid from the muscles.
When your body is massage, you promote the flushing out of toxins and impurities. Eliminating these toxins will help you feel energized. Having too many impurities in your body can lead you to feel uneasy.
To start your day off right, begin it with a 10-minute self-massage. Energetically massaging your body will revitalize your mind and body. It’s particularly helpful if you’ve been feeling physically or mentally sluggish.
Taking the time during the beginning of the day to perform a self-massage gives you time to reflect on the day ahead. If you choose to take a slower pace with your massage, it gives you time to focus your mind and breath. You’ll begin your day feeling relaxed and at peace.
Performing a self-massage promotes lustrous and soft skin. You’ll feel more energetic as your body detoxifies itself, promoting more youthful qualities. You’ll feel increased amounts of joy, vitality, and resilience.
A self-massage can relieve soreness, tension, and cramping. If you stand on your feet for extended lengths of time, self-massage can provide temporary pain relief and comfort.
Take Time to Nurture Yourself
During your self-massage time, turn off your inner critic and relax. Massage is one of the best ways to show yourself self-love and care.
How to Do a Self-Massage
There are a few different ways you can give yourself self-massage. Tools such as foam rollers or pressure point balls can aid you during the process. Using certain self massage-techniques will give you countless benefits.
When beginning self massages, keep in mind that a few moments of massage is enough for moderate pain/discomfort areas in your body. For more severe pain, massage for a few minutes. Massage any areas where you’re experiencing discomfort at least two times a day.
When exploring muscles or areas that you feel pain, find the exact spot where you feel the most pain. That’s where you should apply pressure. Start with light pressure and work your way up to more strong pressure.
After a massage, drink plenty of fluids. You want to flush out any toxins the massage released. Also, stretch out the same area you worked on.
If you’re still experiencing a lot of pain in your body after performing multiple self massages, don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional. Massage therapists, or this local chiropractor, can help you with stubborn areas.
Self Massage Tools
In addition to foam rollers, nail beds, and lacrosse balls, have a set of massage oils on hand. Certain types of massage oils can provide additional benefits, such as reduced inflammation or muscle recovery.
Some types of massage oil are:
You can also implement a sleep oil into your massage routine if you’re doing it right before bed.
To help increase your range of motion and/or reduce muscle soreness, incorporate a foam roller into your self-massage routine. It’s usually used for the hips and lower back, but you can use it on your upper back and lower legs. When using a foam roller, be cautious around your neck and spine.
Follow these tips when using a foam roller for self-massage:
- Start with gentle and light pressure when first starting out with a foam roller
- Reduce how much pressure you get from the foam roller by adjusting how much of your body weight you put on it
- When you find a tender area, slowly roll on it for around 10 seconds
- As you get used to that, increase it to 30 or 60 seconds
- Drink a lot of water post foam roller massage
Acupressure mats, or nail beds, are drawn from traditional Chinese acupressure. The technique releases your body’s blocked Qi. As the Qi leaves your body, it removes or reduces your amount of pain.
As you lay on an acupressure mat, the hundreds of plastic points apply pressure to your back. Having pressure on the acupressure points in your body has been shown to reduce pain. Keep in mind to be gentle and careful with an acupressure mat.
Here are some tips when using an acupressure mat:
- Lay the mat on a sofa or bed to decrease the intensity of the plastic points
- After you’re more comfortable with the mat, you can move it to the floor
- Start by layering a blanket or towel between your back and the mat until you get used to the plastic spikes
- Take the process very slowly when starting out
- Lie down slowly and gently until your weight is distributed on the mat
- Don’t move while on the mat so you don’t scratch or pierce your skin
Tennis or Lacrosse Ball
A lacrosse or tennis ball on your joints and muscles can reduce pain, increase your joints’ range of motion, and decrease soreness. Lacrosse balls are denser than a standard tennis ball and are the ball of preference.
Using a ball on your muscles loosen and stretch out the connective tissue that is on top of your muscles. It allows your muscles to move around more freely. Lacrosse balls can reach your deeper muscles whereas tennis balls cannot penetrate as much.
You can lay on the floor or lean against the wall, moving around so it kneads your muscles and eliminates knots.
Self Massage Techniques
You can perform a self-massage with the help of the above tools or with your hands. Routinely performing a self-massage will guarantee you continue to experience its benefits.
Head Self Massage
If you have a bad headache, don’t start popping a bunch of pain pills. An easy self massage technique will relieve your head pain and all you need is your hands.
Follow these simple steps:
- Put your thumbs on your cheekbones and by your ears
- Apply pressure gently, moving your fingertips in a circular motion
- Make circles as you move your thumbs up your hairline
- Stop when your thumbs meet in the center of your forehead
Neck Self Massage
Many of us experience neck tension as we spend hours sitting in front of our computers. An easy neck massage will ease your neck pain and relieve tension.
Here are some tips for a neck self-massage:
- Put a few fingertips on the back of your neck, right where your neck connects to your shoulders
- Apply and hold firm pressure
- When you feel your muscles relax, release the pressure
- Slowly roll your shoulders
- Repeat a few more times
Shoulder Self Massage
Poor posture can lead to shoulder pain. A shoulder self-massage can alleviate any pain in your shoulder.
Follow these tips for a foolproof shoulder self-massage:
- Put the fingers of your right hand on your right shoulder
- Squeeze the upper part of your shoulder three times
- Roll the fingers over the muscle from the outside to the base of your neck
- Repeat on the left shoulder
Lower Back Self Massage
Gardening, cleaning, or heavy lifting can result in lower back pain. A quick self-massage can relieve your pain. For this massage, you’ll need a wall and a lacrosse ball.
- Put the ball between the wall and your lower back
- Find the tense areas by moving your body up and down
- When you find the sore spot, apply light, then strong pressure
- Switch between rolling the ball over the spot and applying more pressure
Incorporate Self Massages Into Your Daily Routine
You don’t have to wait weeks to get an appointment for a massage. Adding self massages into your morning or evening routine is a great way for you to continue receiving the benefits of massages. You’ll not only save time and money, but you’ll feel better too.
For more money-saving tips, read one of our other articles.