Self Massage Techniques

Practicing self massage techniques does not involve the use of fancy equipment. The essential tool is your hand and the power of your touch. 

In case you have special health concerns or issues that may affect where and how you apply these self massage techniques, it is important to check with your doctor. 

Persons with the following conditions must take care before doing any form of massage therapy:

  • deep vein thrombosis, blood clots
  • a bleeding disorder or taking blood-thinning medication
  • weakened bones from osteoporosis
  • a fever
  • cancer
  • a recent fracture

Persons who may have any of the following in an area that is to be massaged must take care before doing any form of massage therapy:

  • a tumor
  • damaged nerves
  • an infection or acute inflammation
  • inflammation from radiation treatment
  • an open or healing wound
  • fragile skin

Essential Self Massage

Self Massage How-To's:  From Head to Toe

Head Massage

photo courtesy of 3loomi.4ulike, on Flickr
  • To relieve tension - place your head in both your hands.
  • Gently apply pressure while rotating your thumbs at the top of your head and also at your temples.
  • Take deep breaths while you rub the tension away.
  • To relieve anxiety – use your knuckles to tap across the top of your head in light soothing motions.

Face Massage

  • Ensure your face and hands are properly cleansed before beginning.
  • Start from the back of the neck and use both hands to rub in a circular motion outwards towards both cheeks and then upwards towards the forehead.
  • Move the tip of your fingers in a circular motion at your temples.
  • To soothe tired eyes, rub your hands together until they are warm and then cup your hands over your eyes. The heat helps to relax your eyes.
  • Use your thumb and forefinger to pinch your eyebrows working outwards from the nose bridge to your temples. This helps to reduce tension around your eyes.
  • To relieve sinus pressure use your finger tips to trace your brow line starting from the top of your nose. Then still with the top of your nose as the starting point, slide your fingers down your nose under your eyes (on top of your cheek bones) and towards the end of your eyes.

Shoulder Massage

Ideal for tension headaches and the every now and then stiff neck.

  • Slowly run your left hand along the curves of your right shoulder starting from your neck.
  • Repeat this 3 times and then do the same thing on the left shoulder with your right hand.
  • In a circular motion, use your fingertips to apply pressure to your shoulder and down your arm.
  • Press each area and rub in a circular motion and release.
  • Do the same along the spine starting from the neck to the base of the head.
  • Loosely clench your left fist to gently tap your right shoulder. This helps improve circulation and to work out the kinks in your muscle.
  • Repeat on your left shoulder.

Arm Massage

  • Glide your hands up and down your arm, paying close attention to the back of the arm.
  • Place your fingers on your arm and use your thumb to gently rub your arm in a circular motion.
  • Move your fingers to different areas of your arm and let your thumb continue to gently press the arm in a circular motion.
  • Lightly slap your upper arm to stimulate circulation then gently stroke your arm up and down.
  • Repeat the same steps on the other arm.

Hand Massage

photo courtesy of 3loomi.4ulike, on Flickr

  • Glide your hand from your wrist to the back of your hand.
  • Use your thumb and your fingers to squeeze your fingers and palm.
  • In a circular motion use your thumb and index finger from your other hand to rub the joints of your fingers.
  • Gently pull your fingers while running your hands from the base to the tip of each finger.
  • With your palm faced downwards use your fingers from your other hand to support your palm and then use your thumb to press the top of the hand all over in a circular motion.
  • End the massage by gently stroking the palm of your hand from the tips of your finger to your wrist.
  • Repeat the same steps on the other hand.

Leg Massage

Leg massages are not only good for soothing sore muscles after exercise but also for toning the legs and improving the look of cellulite.

  • Place your foot flat on the floor with your knee bent.
  • Use both hands to stroke upwards from your ankle to your thigh.
  • Repeat 5 times.
  • Use your hands to knead your thigh, especially the front and outside areas.
  • Use your knuckles to apply gentle but firm upward strokes on your thigh. 
  • Massage your calf muscles with both hands by pressing and rubbing the area to release tension.
  • Repeat on the other leg.

Foot Massage

It is said that the average person takes 8,000 to 10,000 steps a day and so the foot goes under a lot of pressure on a daily basis. After a long tiring day, a foot massage is ideal to help you relax and soothe your aching feet.

While doing this self massage technique, you should be seated with your foot comfortably supported by your hand and positioned across your opposite leg.

The best way how to massage your foot is to always work from the toes to the heart when massaging.

  • Use the index finger and thumb of both hands and stroke your hands (with your thumbs gently pressed against the sole of your foot) along the length of your foot.
  • Hold your foot with one hand and use your thumb to continuously apply circular pressure to the arch and ball of the foot to release tension.
  • Use your knuckle to gently tap then stroke the sole of your foot.
  • Repeat the same steps on the other foot.

You can follow up the massage with a warm foot soak or lie down for 20 minutes with your legs raised. This can help improve circulation and prevent varicose veins.

The more you make self massage a regular practice the better you will become at it and feel more relaxed. 

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