Rub Yourself the Right Way with a DIY Massage
When it comes to rest, relaxation, and pain relief, it’s hard to beat a massage. It feels fantastic and the health benefits are wide ranging. We don’t always have the time or the budget to seek out professional help, though, and that’s where DIY massage comes in.
At first glance it might seem impossible to “do it yourself” when it comes to massage. It’s like tickling yourself, you might think — it can’t be done. And there are parts of our own bodies that we just can’t reach, at least not well enough to apply enough pressure for a massage.
But that’s only partly true. While a DIY massage might never be able to replicate the sense of total body calmness we get from a professional massage therapist, with simple tools and techniques — or maybe a little help from our friends — we can still target just about any area that’s bothering us. And we can do it whenever we want, without having to schedule an appointment.
You’ve Done it Before, You’ll Do It Again
Even if you don’t realize it, you’ve given yourself a massage. We’ve all rubbed our legs or our arms when they’re sore. It feels good. It makes them feel better. And that’s really all this is about: taking a few minutes to make ourselves feel better.
Get Your Technique Down and Everything
How do you do it? It’s hard to go wrong, really. If it feels good, you’re doing it right. If it hurts so good, you’re still doing it right. If it hurts bad, stop. You can use the palm of your hand, your fingers, your knuckles — whatever is most comfortable. You can simply press down and hold in place, or use small, kneading strokes, circular or back and forth. Start gentle, and work your way into greater pressure.
If you’re massaging yourself, you’ll know when enough is enough. If you’re massaging a friend, pay attention to the cues. If they say “stop,” then stop.
Which Parts of the Body Benefit from DIY Massage?
If you can think of a body part, you can massage it. You can even massage it if you can’t reach it:
- Head and Scalp — Using your palms or fingertips and beginning at the temples, gently push the scalp up, hold, and release. Work your way around the entire scalp.
- Face — Gentle massage of cheekbones, hairline, jaw, and above the eyebrows can relax a tension headache.
- Hands and Forearms — Relax one arm palm up, then push the heel of the other hand slowly along the length of the arm all the way to the fingertips. Take this time to give a nice stretch to you fingers and wrists as well.
- Neck and Shoulders — Use your fingertips to massage the back of the neck where the neck meets the shoulders.
- Lower Back — If you’re unable to get proper leverage with your hands to massage your lower back, try a tennis ball. Either lie on the floor on the ball, or place the ball between yourself and a wall. Move your body slowly, pressing against the ball, so that the ball moves up and down and side to side against any tight muscles.
- Thighs — Massage with your hands, your elbow, or using the same tennis ball technique as with the lower back.
- Calves and Hamstrings — A tennis ball or foam roller will work here, as will the heels of your palms.
- Feet — Take off your shoes and roll a tennis ball between the floor and the arch, heel, and toes of you foot. Pay attention to each individual toe, rotating and stretching forward and back. This is one massage where you’ve got an advantage over the pros: if you’re doing it yourself, you won’t be tickling or nothin’.
It’s Time for Some Nurturing
Massage is a great way to relax and unwind after a stressful day, and it’s a wonderful way to connect with loved ones. Giving and receiving a massage creates a genuine emotional connection, and it doesn’t require any professional training — just five to ten minutes of relaxing awareness.
Whether you’re giving a massage to a friend with a great massage cream, or giving a DIY massage to yourself, it’s a great way to relieve stress, aches, and pains, or just ease yourself into sleep at the end of a long day.