No one would be faster in agreeing that a massage given to you by someone else is a magical thing.
The power of touch is so soothing and healing. It is also the best way to work out knotted muscles and built-up tension.
There was one time, however, when my sweet husband gave me an appointment to have my hair done at an exclusive salon, as well indulge in a massage. When I opened the gift card, visions of a beautiful, relaxing and revitalizing experience filled my mind. That really wasn't what I got.
Rather, when the anticipated day came and I arrived at the magnificent salon, to my dismay I found that they had scheduled the hair appointment first!! This was a very high-end, expensive salon mind you.You really don't have to be the sharpest knife in the drawer to figure out what is going to happen.
And in spite of my protests, they insisted that it had been booked that way. So after I had a lovely hair-do, they took me in and laid me on a massage table and proceeded to stroke my head and face with massage oil. Really?!I seriously wasn't relaxed! And I ended up leaving there with oily, uncombed hair and very strong emotions.
It may be easier to find relaxation in a friendly, familiar environment, performed by a friend or spouse.
Sometimes, however, there is no one around to perform this service, but it is still possible to achieve relaxation and relieve stress by performing a self massage.
Being able to perform self massage is a fabulous thing to do. It can relax you, motivate you, stimulate you, relieve stress, pain and fatigue or get you ready to sleep by harmonizing your nervous system and making you feel just plain good.
You are probably already a self massager and may not even know it. People who rub their neck and shoulders or the temples of their foreheads, are actually employing the healing method of self massage.
If you are in good health, using self massage regularly can help prevent sickness. If you are sick, self massage can start or sustain the healing process.
As with every other natural healing technique, self massage can be combined with other healing techniques to enhance and improve their effectiveness.
If you perform your self massage slowly and thoughtfully, it will relax and de-stress you, as well as improving your circulation and reducing edema (swelling). Adding music that relaxes you can also be very effective.
If you need to wake up or revitalize yourself, then perform it quickly with energetic music when possible. This will help reduce fatigue as well as increase your energy.
You can even add massage oil if you are somewhere that it is possible. While the aroma of massage oil can definitely relax or invigorate your mood, it is not necessary for making your massage effective.
Although, even just smelling an essential oil can help de-stress or revitalize.
Techniques to use with a self massage.
If you ever made bread or even played with play doh and squeezed and molded the dough, that is the same thing you want to do with your muscles. This works well on your shoulders and back, or your calf or arm muscles.
In this case, if you are at home and can use massage oil for a lubricant it works even better. More about massage oil on our page all about Homemade Massage Oil.
Rub your muscles in small circular motions with your hands or fingers to stimulate your circulation and to release tension. This works great on your fingers and hands, on your feet and toes, and on your face - and on your neck. Okay, so it works great everywhere. You can also use a little knobby massager for this motion on larger skin surfaces.
We could also call this slapping or knocking, drumming your fingers, or any rhythmic motion. This motion stimulates your blood circulation and draws away stress, relaxing your muscles. This works well on the inside of your wrists, your face, and it is great on your lymphatic areas. Stimulating your lymph by light slapping or brushing with a dry, natural bristle brush, stimulate lymph movement - promoting health.
Hacking gives somewhat the same results as patting. Hacking is performed with loosely spread fingers. Afterstriking the skin the fingers cascade together but only the side of the little finger and the tips of the third and fourth fingers actually touch the skin.
The result is a light, invigorating touch - performed rapidly and in a rhythmic alternating fashion. Avoid a chopping action where the side of the hand rather than the fingers land heavily on the skin.
As mentioned above, brushing can be employed with a self massage - particularly an invigorating massage. I love the way it feels in the morning when I brush my skin before, or in the shower using an invigorating fresh scented shower gel, or by adding a few drops of my favorite invigorating essential oil to liquid soap. My favorite is orange and rosemary. Don't forget to brush the last strokes toward your heart.
Especially with this technique be aware of tender areas on your body that should not be vigorously and energetically stimulated.
To end your massage always use slow, outward, relaxing strokes. It just finishes a self massage off right. Remember to stroke toward your heart, especially in your legs as it helps the veins push blood up the leg.
Release tension at work by using self massage on your shoulders.
- Before actually beginning the self massage, relax yourself by closing your eyes and breathing deeply three times. Stroke all the way down your arm to your elbow. (I carry a small bottle of lavender essentail oil with me and inhale its relaxing fragrance before starting.)
(Note: Studies have shown that Lemon essential oil reduces work errors by 54%, jasmine by 33% and lavender by 20%, so pick your favorite!) Mountain Rose Herbs has exquisite essential oils.)
- As you begin be sure to relax yourself for this self massage, drop your head forward and roll your head to your left shoulder, then to your right shoulder, repeat.
Now drop your head to the back and roll your head shoulder to shoulder again.
- Lock your fingers behind your head and drop your head forward, allowing the weight of your hands to stretch your neck and the muscles in the upper back. Count to ten.
- Next, continuing your self massage techniques, using your right hand on your left shoulder, knead your shoulder between your palm and fingers. (You can support your right elbow with your left hand while doing this.)
Now use the rubbing circular motion to massage the muscles or your shoulder - going all the way up your neck to the base of your head. If you find a sore spot spend a few extra seconds massaging it.
Stop there for a minute to restore circulation and drum your fingers a few times, or pound gently with your hand made into a loose fist, then continue the self massage to your shoulder.
- Now stroke the entire area.
- Repeat on your right shoulder.
- Finish off the self massage by rolling your shoulders once or twice more.
Viola! You have finished the self-massage of your shoulders. That should help.
Insomnia Shiatsu-Self Massage
There are three parts to this exercise.
- The first is to apply pressure to the bridge of the nose with your thumb. When you find you can't sleep, sit up, stretch one leg out straight, and bend the other. Put your elbow on your knee, then place your thumb on the bridge of your nose. Lean into it. Stay that way for at least 15 seconds.
- Next locate the Spleen 6 acupressure point located four finger widths up from your inside ankle bone and behind the tibia (leg bone).
(Note: In Chinese Acupuncture, the width of all four of your fingers held tightly together, is called "three human inches"and is the exact distance needed regardless of your size - whether a baby or a large man. So if you are doing this on a baby measure up the leg the width of the four fingers of the baby.)
The point will often be tender or sore. Do this using your right hand to find it on your left leg. Press it for 15-30 seconds. Now do the same thing on your right leg. (Don't use this point if you are pregnant.
- Lastly, using your thumb, find the Heart 7 acupressure point on the bottom corner of the hand at wrist. (See Picture) This point helps with dream-disturbed sleep and insomnia. Press this point (which is in the indention) for 15-30 seconds. Repeat on your other hand.
Good Job! Now place a drop of lavender essential oil which you have diluted in a carrier oil, on your pillow. Now lay down and breath deeply - place your hand on your abdomen, breath slowly through your nose, exhale, feel your abdomen go up and down. Zzzzzzzz
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