This is one of the most common questions I get from new massage clients. There…
Even if you schedule regular monthly massage sessions, your muscles can feel tense and sore as you go about your daily life. Life can be stressful and it does take a toll on your body and your health, even if you don’t want to acknowledge it. But it is possible to watch your tension, soreness, and stress melt away with a little DIY massage. Here are my DIY massage tips that you can use when you’re in between massage sessions or you need to ease any stress you might be experiencing today.
Before starting your DIY massage, take a few deep breaths to relax your entire body. Learning to control your breath is an excellent way to begin the relaxation process. Too often in our busyness we forget to take in the oxygen that sustains us, which is why deep, mindful breaths can immediately soothe anxiety. Scientifically speaking, allowing your diaphragm to fully expand with deep abdominal breathing promotes full oxygen exchange, which will slow down your heart and lower your blood pressure.
Proper Breathing Technique
- Inhale slowly through your nose for up to four seconds, allowing your belly to fully expand
- Exhale slowly through the mouth for another four seconds, letting the air release from your body
- Repeat at least two times
- Keeping your eyes closed throughout this process will allow you to focus on your breath and to let the calm wash over you.
Use a Tennis Ball for Feet & Back
You’ve no doubt heard of this tip before, but it’s a good one! Using a clean tennis ball, roll it under your bare feet for a few minutes for a tension-reducing foot rub. You can do this while sitting at your desk chair or on the sofa at home. Start out with light pressure and increase it slowly when you find tender spots. Spend a few extra seconds on that tender spot until the tissue relaxes. Don’t wait for your feet to hurt before massaging them. They need it everyday!
You can also put a tennis ball between your back and a wall to hit those sore spots between your shoulder blades and the lower back. It is easy to control the amount of pressure with this technique just by putting more weight into the ball. Just like with the feet, sustain the pressure once you find a tender spot until it relaxes.
Roll Out Your Wrists & Massage Your Hands
If you’re like a majority of the population, you use your hands all day long for a variety of activities, whether it’s typing on a computer keyboard, waiting tables, cleaning the house, and even texting on your phone. Like your feet, your hands contain a complex web of nerve endings, muscle, and tissue that bear the brunt of your daily activity. Give these appendages some love with these DIY massage tips:
- Apply pressure to the muscles in the palm of your hands, at the base of the wrists, and each segment of your fingers, applying a few extra seconds of pressure on tender spots.
- Roll out your wrists slowly, first clockwise then counterclockwise. Repeat two more times.
- Straighten your arms in front of you, palms facing out, fingers down. Hold this position for 5-10 seconds, allowing the muscles in your arms, wrists, hands and fingers to stretch out.
- Stretch out your arms to the side, turn your palms up, and bring the arms slightly back to feel a nice stretch in your upper back, arms and hands.
The hands and wrists may not seem like a spot for massage or stretching, but you’ll find immediate relief in areas you didn’t realize you needed it! Take a break from whatever it is you might be doing every couple of hours and try these tips out.
Use a Thera Cane
A good tool for relaxing the tops of the shoulders and in between your shoulder blades is a Thera Cane. Many people have knots and trigger points in the traps of the shoulders, and this self-massage tool allows you to put a good amount of focused pressure on those spots until they relax. Start with wide strokes and light pressure to warm up the tissue. It is tempting to dig in immediately to relax those tense shoulders, but take your time for better results.
Soak in an Epsom Salt Bath
Follow up these techniques with a warm epsom salt bath. This will further relax you and help your body recover from the work as well as rid your body of toxins. A warm bath will increase your body temperature, which might make it difficult to fall asleep, so take the bath a couple of hours before going to bed. Also drink plenty of water, especially if you have worked on trigger points.
I hope that you have found these DIY massage tips useful for easing tension and helping you relax. Of course, nothing quite compares to the focused and skills of a board-certified and licensed massage therapist. Consider taking an hour for yourself once a month by scheduling regular massage therapy sessions to give your entire body the attention it deserves!