A massage sounds like a nice idea in essence but unfortunately, the cost and time can make them hard to access. Self massages are an easy way to achieve the benefits of a massage without having to spend any money or go anywhere. Self massages can be a targeted way to reduce stress and relieve tension.
When you give yourself a massage you can tailor your technique to what you are feeling in that specific moment. If you come across any spots that are tighter than the rest, take a few extra moments to massage and work the area. Take your time and feel free to follow the steps as you read them. This massage should be 6-8 minutes but could made to be shorter or longer depending on your needs.
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Nobody has time to visit a massage parlor and although this is technically a “self massage,” you can absolutely recruit your significant other or someone else to help you. Or if you are a significant other, you could give this massage.
My neck and shoulders are almost always carrying stress. Which can be exhausting. When stress is really getting to me I can feel it creeping into my body and making itself home. Unpleasant to say the least. A large part of this is controlling how I deal with stress but how do I deal with it once it's already there?
Pushing it out. For some extra stress relieving properties, I imagine myself pulling and pushing all the built up stress out. With every drag of my fingers, I feel the tension beginning to leave.
Not only do I use self massages for self care but they are also great for when I’m feeling overwhelmed. I get a chance to tune into my body to find and relieve stress. As well I can dial up the intensity for a more deep massage, to really get the stress out.
By combining awareness with this massage you can start to get to the root of your stress and begin to protect your physical body from it. Stress is as much about the physical sensations you deal with as the emotional ones.
Massages can be helpful in reducing stress and can have relaxing aspects. Massage oil or cream can be used to amplify these properties. As well neck massages can help to reduce headache pain, high blood pressure, and improve brain function by increasing circulation. By massaging your neck regularly you may also see improvements in your posture, flexibility, and can reduce the chance of pulling a muscle. By giving yourself a massage you are able to get in on these benefits and start managing your stress.
Start by reaching both your hands to the base of your neck. Use your whole hand to massage or palm the muscles there. Move down on to your upper shoulder/back and keep palming your muscles. You should feel your muscles begin warming. Keeping with the same action, move upwards on your neck, about to the base of your skull. Do this a couple more times until the whole area of your upper back and neck feel warm.
Move your hands farther down your back, next to your spine. With an upwards motion push with a little more pressure on your traps. Imagine yourself pulling the tension out as you repeat this movement 3 or 4 more times.
Palm over your entire neck area again, keeping heat there. Start massaging in a circular motion the top of your neck and continue to the base of your neck. Then pull your fingers away from your spine. Keep with the circular motions if that feels good for 7-10 more repetitions or while moving your fingers down and away from your spine apply mild pressure. Some mild discomfort may be noticed. You can keep palming the area if pushing is too painful. Make sure never to do anything painful or too uncomfortable. As well it is important to not push directly on your spine with too much pressure as you may cause unintended injury.
Move again farther down your neck and begin to pull your fingers over the muscles at the tops of your shoulder blades. Find a rhythm and begin to apply a little more pressure. Keep massaging your muscles out and away from your spine. Do this for 7-10 repetitions. You can vary the speed or alternate the side you are doing this on.
Lightly tip your head to one side, make sure to find a stable point or support your head. With your head tipped, again begin to make circles down the extended side of your neck and a short ways down. Go for 5-7 repetitions. Repeat the same on the other side of your neck.
From a tipped point slowly roll your head forwards, to the side, and then backward until you’re in the starting point again. Do this on each side 2-3 times.
Starting at the top of your neck, using your preferred method gently massage down your neck a few more times before returning to palming your neck. Continue gently squeezing and palming up and down your neck, bring that heat once more.
Begin to focus in on where it feels tight. This may be at the base of your skull, behind your ears, between your shoulder blade or elsewhere. Pay extra attention here. Begin to massage the tight area with your fingers or thumbs. Make circles if that is what feels good or just simply push with your fingers.
Give yourself one or two more large palming squeezes before letting go.
Feeling relaxed yet?
After pushing all the stress out of your body, imagine yourself as a blank slate. Allow yourself to release any extra stress you might be feeling. Know that keeping stress inside your muscles does not serve you and you are free to let it go.
Self massages are a nice way to help your relieve tension and relax. You can give yourself a light massage anytime without needing to go anywhere or spend anything. Massages can help to alleviate a number of ailments and get you on the path to being your best and most relaxed self.