Five Self-Massage Tips to Help Relieve Pain and Tension

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With massage therapy generally regarded as a nonessential service in this time of coronavirus lockdowns, you might be feeling pretty limited in your options for managing the stress you’re feeling. Those cases of wine that everyone was buying in the early days of quarantine can only go so far, and by now you’re probably wanting a healthier option. Well, just because you’re not allowed to visit a massage therapist doesn’t mean that massage is off the table.

The easiest solution is to grab the person you’re locked away with and slap a jar of Free-Up Massage Cream into their hands. But what if you’re alone, or what if your partner’s hands just aren’t up to the task?

Self-Massage Gets the Job Done

DIY massage is always great in a pinch, and even in normal times it has advantages over seeing a professional. It’s quicker and more convenient, for example, and it’s definitely less expensive. It won’t leave you with that same feeling of full-body relaxation that you get from a visit with a trained massage therapist, and there are some areas of our own bodies that are just plain hard to reach. But when it comes to targeting specific spots and trigger points to relieve pain and tension, you are the number one expert when it comes to knowing what works for you.

How to Give Yourself a Massage

It’s not complicated. You don’t need much in the way of physical therapy equipment—maybe one of those knobby hooks for hard-to-reach trigger points or even just a couple of tennis balls in a sock. And a good massage lubricant is always nice if this is something you’ll be doing regularly—and it should be!

Here are a few tips on giving yourself a great massage:

  • First off, don’t just give yourself one massage. Massage is great for pain relief and relief of tension and stress, and there’s no reason not to do it often. Make it a part of your daily routine.
  • There’s no need to apply so much pressure that it hurts—at least not too much. You’ll know the difference between good pain and bad pain. Start lightly, then increase the pressure until you find that Goldilocks zone that feels just right for you.
  • Look for the trigger points. Sometimes when you’re trying to work out sensitivity, soreness, or pain, there is an associated “trigger point” spot located some distance away from the affected area. Massaging this trigger point can provide relief. These spots can be hard to find, though, so it’s best just to cast a wide net at first, then focus on what feels best.
  • You can use self-massage for just about any area of the body, from the bottoms of your feet to the top of your head. For some spots, though, you might not be able to reach well enough or apply enough pressure with your hands. In that case, just improvise! A tennis ball on the floor or between your back and the wall is a great way to get concentrated pressure with little effort at all. 
  • Stretch when you’re finished. You’re already relaxed and loosened up a bit, so it’s a great time to work in some gentle stretches. They’ll feel great, and so will you.

Massages are a great way to relieve stress, release tense muscles, and help your body recover so it can perform at its best.