Get the stress-relieving benefits of a massage anytime, with some easy techniques you can try alone or with a partner. Read on, and relax.
By the editors at Daily Glow
While a spa massage is a once-in-a-while treat, self-massage can be an easy, everyday affair. And you can get many of the health benefits of massage at home. Along with providing relaxation, massage can help reduce musclepain, improve circulation, fight depression, and lower blood pressure. You can work self-massage into your daily schedule, using it to help you unwind at the end of the day. Try these techniques to help alleviate stress in common trouble spots.
Start with your shoulders. Your neck and shoulders take on a lot of tension during the day, especially if you have a desk job. Stroke each shoulder with the opposite hand, from your neck to your elbow, repeating several times. Then rub the back of your neck and the bottom of your skull in circles. You can reduce tension in your back by giving yourself a bear hug, then rubbing your hands along your arms.
Treat your feet. Your feet work hard for you all day. Pay them back with a good foot rub. Put one hand on top of your foot and the other underneath, and press and stroke from your toes to your ankles. Then rub and stretch each toe. Use your thumb to rub the arch and ball of your foot in circles. Repeat on the other foot.
Help your hands. You can treat your hands to a quick massage any time you apply lotion. Stroke the back of your hand, then squeeze and stroke each finger in turn. Rub the palm in circles with your thumb, and rub the fleshy part beside the base of your thumb.
These massage techniques can also help you reduce tension:
- Rub a bare foot over a tennis ball, gradually putting more weight on your foot. Or lie on a tennis ball and move your body over it for a massaging effect. Keep the tennis ball handy for squeezing — it can help beat stress and build hand strength for your self-massages.
- Fill a tube sock with rice and tie it closed, then use it to massage your arms and legs. You can use the same rice-filled sock again and again. For a heated treat, warm the sock in the microwave for a couple of minutes.
- Wearing high heels can be tough on your calves. When you shed the shoes, treat your calves to a massage, rubbing in circles from your ankles up to the backs of your knees.
- Give your eyes a break from the computer screen. Rub your palms together until they’re warm, then cup your hands over your eyes and feel the heat.
Massage with a partner. Trading back, foot, or hand rubs with a partner can be a comforting way to unwind after a busy day — try any of the techniques discussed above, or just do whatever feels good. You don’t need any special training or equipment, just some time and perhaps a lotion or oil. If you want to improve your technique, many schools and adult education associations offer classes in basic massage.
Try self-massage — you’ll get many of the health benefits of a spa treatment, any time you want.