Self Massage: When a Massage Therapist is Not Available
Self massage can be a home treatment for many physical problems, or just for everyday muscle aches and pains. Although nothing takes the place of a good massage given by a trained massaged therapist, you can get many of the same benefits by performing massage on yourself. Improved circulation, relaxation, reduced pain can be some of the benefits of massaging yourself. It can easily be worked into your daily schedule.
Some Simple Tools You Might Want
The easiest way to perform self massage is to invest in a few simple tools. These tools will save your hands and reduce the effort it takes to make it effective.
1. Bamboo massage stones are a new concept mimicking the hot stone that is popular. They are 100% bamboo formed in the shape of a stone for adding pressure. Heated they can bring some soothing pressure to sore areas. Available in a 2 pack.
Basalt hot rocks massage stones.
Basalt massage stones are easy to find at Amazon.com
. Three to Four inch rocks are best for self massage. One large one would be about $5 to $9. You can warm them up in hot water or use them at room temp.
2. Bamboo massage stick. These are high quality pure bamboo sticks and what I use for my massage therapy business. It is very easy to grab the ends of the stick and have leverage to massage yourself. If you need to massage your arms, pin the stick on one end with your legs or some other area and hold the other end with your hand. Use them heated or unheated. To purchase and read more about how to use bamboo sticks click here.
Bamboo Massage click here.
or other massage tool for pressing and gliding. There are some fairly inexpensive ones here at Amazon.com.
Oil or Lotion for Glide
Use some massage lotion
or oil to create a “glide”. Any kind of lotion, cooking, or body oil will work. You don’t have to buy anything fancy. Just use what you have in your home. When doing a self massage seek to massage the whole muscle from one end to the other if you can reach. You don’t have to know anatomy. Basically, work from one joint to the next. Hip to knee, shoulder to elbow, elbow to wrist and so on.
You already know where it hurts or is tight. You should mostly massage in the direction of the heart, but back and forth is okay, too. Use light strokes at first to warm up the tissue, and then go deeper. The deeper you go the slower you want to slide with your self massage.
Do not apply pressure over bony surfaces, like the knee, elbow, shins, neck, etc. If something feels too painful, stop doing it. Don’t massage any deeper than, “Oh, that hurts so good!”
Do you have tired achy feet, or plantar fascitis? (Souls of your feet hurt when you get up in the morning.) Stand, holding on to something like the back of a chair. Then, put your foot on a tennis ball.
Roll the ball slowly from your heel to every toe individually and back. If it hurts too much, lighten the pressure. The good thing about self massage is that you are in control of the pressure exactly like you want it. You can also use a full smooth plastic water bottle with a tight cap for this, rolling it back and forth along the bottom of your foot. Freeze the water for icing or hot water for heat.
Sticks and Stones
Using either a bamboo stick or stones, heated or not you will be able to massage many parts of the body without having to apply much pressure. Use the flat surface of the stone for massaging a wide area. Use the stick point, or the side of the stone for more precise deeper massage. You can also lay down with the knob or stone under your back to get precise pressure or trigger points that is impossible to reach effectively with your hands.
Using a stick is fairly easy and effective for self massage. It needs to be long enough to hold in both hands, while straddling a body part. Watch this video of stick self massage:
Try to cover the whole area of the muscle group you are working on. You know where you hurt, but remember that the pain or discomfort might be caused in another area near where you are feeling the discomfort. Explore around the area to try to find where else the problem might be coming from.
Use self massage to find areas you didn't even know needed to be massaged. You will probably find it addicting!
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