9 Must-Have Massage Tips
Can’t shake the kink out of your neck? Treat yourself with these self-massage tips and let the tension melt away.
Hammer Out the Kinks
Using your fists, gently thump the outside of your body, starting with your legs and arms, working from bottom to top. When done in the morning, this self-massage technique will waken and prepare your body—and mind—for the day ahead. When done before bed, it calms down the mind and beats out the stress and tension of the day.
Note: If you’re taking any kind of blood-thinner, avoid this massage tip; you could wind up with bruising.
Rub Your Belly
While most people do this instinctively after overeating, you should actually do it after every meal. Place one or both palms on your abdomen and rub it in clockwise circles. This is the same direction food naturally moves through your intestine, so your circular massage will help to stimulate digestion.
Massage, Exercise, Massage
Massaging your body, before your stretching, cardio or strength training increases blood flow to the muscles. Massaging your muscles after exercise may help encourage waste removal and speed muscle recovery.
Before exercise, use a pummeling motion with your firsts to bring blood flow to your leg and arm muscles. After exercise, rub along your muscles with your palm or fist, moving in the direction of your heart.
Treat Your Hands
Each time you moisturize, take the time to treat your hands to a well-deserved massage.
- Start with the bottoms of your palms by clasping your fingers and rubbing the heels of your palms together in a circular motion.
- With your hands still clasped, take one thumb and massage the area, just below your other thumb in circular motions, moving outward to the centre of the palm. Repeat with the other hand.
- Release your fingers and use your thumbs and index fingers to knead your palms, wrists and the webbing between your fingers. With one hand, gently pull each finger of the other hand. Finish by using your thumb and index finger to pinch the webbing between your other thumb and index finger.
Heel Your Neck
Once an hour, take a computer break and ease the tension from your neck.
- Clasp your fingers behind your neck, pressing the heels of your palms into your neck on either side of your spinal column. Massage the heels of your hands up and down in slow, deliberate motions.
- Then place the fingers of your right hand on your muscle along the left side of your neck, just below the base of your skull. Press into that muscle, tilt your head to the left and rub downward until you reach your shoulder. Repeat three times, then switch sides.
- Finish by stretching your head back so the tip of your office chair pressed into your neck just below your skull. This also stretches the front of your neck, which tends to get tight during deskwork. Hold for 20 seconds.
Rub Out Sinus Pressure
To relieve sinus congestion, rub with your index fingers.
- Start just above your brow line. Place your finger pads just above your nose, press down and rub outward, tracing your brow line as you go. Repeat two or three times.
- Then place the pads of your fingers below your eyes and the sides of the bridge of your nose, rubbing outward and moving downward with each stroke.
- Use your thumbs to massage your cheekbones, making small circles starting at the centre of your face and moving out towards your ears.
- Finally, place your thumbs on your temples and massage them in small circles.
Warm Your Eyes
Relieve tired eyes by rubbing your hands together vigorously until warm and then cupping each eye with a palm.
Ease Tired Feet
Wash your feet, seat yourself comfortably and rub them down.
- Thread the fingers of one hand through the toes of one foot, spreading out your toes and placing he palm of your hand against the bottom of your foot. Use your palm to gently rotate the joints of your forefoot forward and back for one minute.
- Remove your fingers from your toes, hold your ankle with one hand, and gently rotate the entire foot with the other hand, starting with small circles and progression to larger circles as your ankle warms up. Switch directions, then repeat with the other foot.
Ease shoulder tension by giving yourself a bear hug. Cross your arms over your chest and grab a shoulder with either hand. Squeeze each shoulder and release three times. Then move your hands down your arms, squeezing and releasing until you get to your wrists.