You could use a massage, but no one is around? These five self-massage techniques should help you relieve pain, reduce stress and improve your mood.
Curious about the effects of massages? Keep reading to learn more about the benefits associated with massages and self massages.
Five Self-Massage Techniques
Your muscles deserve some relaxation and you don’t need a partner to perform the following self-massage techniques. You can easily massage these five body areas on your own:
- Hands and Lower Arms. Spending too much time on a keyboard? Massage your hands and lower arms for about 15 minutes to reduce the odds of developing inflamed nerves.
Start by massaging your hand with the thumb on top of the hand and fingers inside the palm. Rub in a circular motion. Gradually move up onto the arm and massage your entire lower arm, then come back down to the hand. Repeat with the other hand and arm.
Finish off by making a fist with both hands during five seconds and releasing to expand your fingers fully, five times.
- Feet. You’ll need a tennis ball and a wall for support. Place the tennis ball on the floor and put your foot on top. Gradually transfer your weight to that foot, using the wall as support. Move your foot slowly and allow the ball to roll and massage your arch, heel, toes and forefoot.
- Stomach. You can help improve digestion, especially after a large meal, by rubbing your stomach in a clockwise direction. By doing so, you’re helping to stimulate digestion.
- Head. Close your eyes. Using your index and middle fingers, make small circles on each temple. Let your fingers “walk up” your hairline, making small circles along the way, until they reach the middle of your forehead. Then “walk” them down until you reach your eyebrow line, and make the same circles outward heading back to your temples along your eyebrows, lingering on tense or sore areas. Finish when you reach the temples again.
- Back. You’ll need a soft surface for this, possibly a yoga mat. Lie down with your back on the mat. Bring your thighs against your chest, with your knees bent, and wrap your arms against your legs. Your body should be in a ball. Gently roll against the floor and let it massage your back. You may find it helpful to push your legs against your arms to give yourself some momentum.
Benefits of Self-Massages
Of course, massages, including those you give to yourself, offer significant health benefits. They may not be as great as those offered by professional massage therapists, but they have the added convenience of being available any time, any place.
- Feeling blue? Massages, including self-massages, can help reduce depression, fatigue, pain and anxiety.
- Head is pounding? Give yourself a self-massage around the neck and shoulder area.
- Feeling pain where you can’t reach? It can sometimes be difficult to self-massage certain areas. Try massaging another area nearby, and you may be surprised to notice a reduction in pain in the other area. It’s because massages alter your brain chemicals.
- Stressed out? Of course, massages can decrease your stress levels. This is been proven by looking at the level of Cortisol in people’s saliva before and after a massage session.
- Prone to hypertension? A 2005 study conducted in Florida reported significant improvements in blood pressure for patients who received ten 10-minute massages over a three-week period.
Go ahead, give yourself a good rub!
Your stress levels will go down and your mood will go up!
Massages… for Children?
If you have children, don’t forget that massages can also help calm kids down!
A small study was conducted by the Touch Institute (University of Miami) on kids ages 7 to 17 who suffer from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The study involved giving them 2 massages per week over the period of a month.
Those who got massages twice per week behaved better and had better mood regulation than the control group. It’s definitely worth a try, but keep children’s massage sessions to 20 minutes or so.