Many of us have busy, stressful lives, and it’s not uncommon for aches and pains to be a part of our everyday experience. But then, what about when niggles turn into something worse, and you can’t get to your Viga massage therapist?
It may be helpful for you to learn self-massage techniques. These can be performed at home with simple equipment such as tennis balls or foam rollers, or sometimes, just your fingers and hands. You can do these simple techniques anywhere – at home, at work, or even on the go.
Like traditional massage from a therapist, self-massage has several benefits other than reducing pain, soreness, and stiffness in the muscles. It can help you relax, relieve stress, reduce anxiety, promote detox, improve circulation, and offer a welcome energy boost.
When starting with self-massage, the first thing you need to do is to find your trigger points – the areas where you feel pain. Search out the specific spots with your fingers, and apply firm pressure. It’s a good idea to start with less pressure and build up. You want to feel like you’re making a difference, but don’t press so hard that it becomes uncomfortable.
If your pain is severe, you’ll need to massage for a minute or two. If it’s only mild discomfort, a few moments should suffice. Gently stretch the muscles out after you’ve completed your massage, as this will help keep them supple and stop soreness from returning.
Using your hands
There are several body parts that can be self-massaged using only the hands. If you have a headache, as so many of us do after a long day at work, you can alleviate the symptoms by placing your thumbs near to your ears and rubbing in circles, keeping your fingers close to your hairline and moving upwards until your fingers meet in the center of your forehead.
The neck and shoulders can also be easily self-massaged using just the hands. For your neck, feel with your fingers for where your neck meets the shoulder, and apply firm pressure with two or three fingertips. Squeeze gently until the muscle feels more relaxed, and then roll your shoulders slowly backward and forward. Repeat until you feel better. A few times should do it.
To self-massage the shoulders, use the hand closest to the shoulder you want to massage (right hand for the right shoulder, for example). Squeeze the upper trapezius (the shoulder muscle at the base of the neck), and then roll the fingers over. Done!
For other areas, you’ll need some basic equipment to help you self-massage. The lower back, for example, can be massaged by rolling a tennis ball over the area while leaning against a wall to hold it in place. You can use a massage ball if you’d prefer.
For legs, hips, and the IT (iliotibial) band, you’ll need a foam roller. These are firm cylinders of foam that are used to apply pressure. Lie on your side with the roller under your hip and roll down to your knee, steadying yourself with your hands if you need to. Roll back, and continue on the other side. It’s easy once you get started!