Massages may feel good, but there’s a lot more to them than that! Massage therapy can be a great stress reliever and help with anxiety and insomnia. It can also provide assistance and relaxation for those suffering from aches and joint pain. Of course, a massage is never a replacement for medical treatment. However, it could be a helpful addition to your health regimen or a great gift to give yourself (or a loved one).
Self-massage If you can’t afford a massage and don’t have someone willing to assist you, try massage therapy on yourself. As long as you are careful not to be too rough on injuries or sore spots, you can still enjoy some of the benefits that a massage has to offer. To help you get started, here are a few techniques you can use any time to help you relax and better enjoy your day.
For relieving stiffness in the neck, lay your hands over your shoulders and slowly squeeze the muscles there while letting your head stretch back. You can also sit down at a table or desk and then rest your elbows in front of you, letting your head drop forward as you use your fingers to massage your skull, back of the neck, and spine.
In the case of headaches or tired eyes, you can massage around your eyes with your thumbs. Close your eyes and start by massaging at the inside corner of each eye where it meets the bridge of the nose. Move in gentle circles, working towards the outside corner of the eye and then going back again. You can also put your thumbs on your temples and rub there, gradually moving towards your hairline and then massaging until they meet on your forehead.
Massaging your hands can be great if you are habitually typing or doing detailed work such as knitting. Start by stretching out your fingers and rubbing them from the base to the top, gently twisting and pulling as you go. Then hold the base of your wrist with your thumb on top and press down while stroking upwards across your palm.
Use acupressure! Manipulating pressure points derived from acupuncture techniques have similar benefits to massage therapy. There are no needles and you can apply the points yourself simply by pressing at a specific area with a firm finger and holding that position for several minutes. Try these two:
- Gate of Spirit - This pressure point can be helpful for emotional issues, anxiety, and even insomnia. Hold out your hand, palm-side up, and follow down from your pinkie finger to your wrist crease. Use your thumb on your opposite hand to hold and apply pressure at this spot. After a few minutes switch hands and repeat.
- Valley of Harmony - In acupressure, this point is used for feeling energized and relieving symptoms of a cold, sinus problems, and headaches. Between the thumb and index finger, use the opposite thumb and index to apply pressure to the center until you feel a slight soreness. Hold for a few minutes and then repeat with your other hand.