In the hustle and bustle of modern day demands, it can be hard to carve out time in our day to slow-down. Fortunately, research is pointing to a simple way to care for ourselves that doesn’t cost money, requires only our time and attention, and has been used for centuries.
Self massage involves using the hands and fingers to rub one’s own muscles to help support relief, relaxation, and comfort. It’s a highly technical practice involving different methods including varying levels of pressure, kneading, and manipulation.
If you’ve ever wondered how to self massage, we’ve got put together all the answers to your most pressing questions (pun intended). Keep reading this helpful article to learn more about the benefits of self massage, self massage techniques for different parts of the body, and more.
What Are The Benefits of Self Massage?
The benefits of self massage include flexibility, recovery, joint motion, and more. Check out the ways in which self massage has been researched to show a wealth of benefits.
In a 2016 study performed by the Journal of Bodywork & Movement Therapies participants used a foam roller for 1-2 minutes on their hamstrings. Results showed that performing self massage affected participants' range of joint motion .
The Journal of Sports Sciences recently found that self massage prior to stretching helped to improve flexibility in young and middle-aged adults .
Massage has been comprehensively studied for its ability to increase physical comfort in a broad scope of application for prenatal mothers and other isolated bodily areas, including: the back, neck, shoulders, knees, head, and more .
Relaxation & Attention
Massage may be a physical practice but it’s definitely proof of the mind-body connection. A 2014 literature review published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice found that moderate pressure massage enhanced attentiveness, reduced heart rate, and helped to support relaxation .
How To Prepare For Self Massage
Consult with Your Physician
If you have an existing health condition or are recovering from injury, consult with your health practitioner before performing self massage.
Set the Scene
An easy way to make the most out of your self massage is to set the scene. Dim the lights, play soothing music, and prepare to be uninterrupted. Make the proper arrangements that allow you to fully and completely relax.
Pick an Oil
The reason why massage therapists use oil while performing a massage is because it causes less friction. A massage oil allows your hands to glide without becoming stuck or pulling the skin. You have a few options for oils when you perform self massage that we’ve detailed below.
What is a good massage oil?
A good massage oil is natural, chemical free, and has an easy glide. You have the option of purchasing a high quality body oil or using a natural oil from your pantry.
A high quality body oil often contains a collection of botanical ingredients: aloe, arnica, cannabis, and other natural essential oils. When you choose a massage oil with multiple ingredients, you’re more likely to reap multiple benefits: hydration, aromatherapy, an array of vitamins, and normal inflammatory function.
A natural oil will contain a single source ingredient. Massage therapists interviewed for Very Well Health shared their favorite natural oils: fractionated coconut oil, jojoba seed oil, sunflower oil, almond oil, and apricot kernel oil .
Cleanse & Prep
Before you begin a massage, you’re going to want to cleanse and rinse your hands as well as the desired area. Making sure that you’re taking the proper hygiene precautions will mitigate the risk of spreading bacteria.
Always begin by placing a few drops on one palm and rubbing your palms together until the oil is warm and soothing.
How to Do A Self Facial Massage
- Use either a designated facial oil, or an oil from the list above that you know works well on your face and does not cause breakouts.
- Use a pressure that is firm, yet gentle. The skin on the face is thin, pay special attention to not pull the skin when massaging.
- Start by putting your fingers at your jaw joint and massaging in a circular motion up to the temples.
- Move your fingertips to the center of your forehead and lightly move them in an outward motion and repeat. After 30-60 seconds, change the motion to moving the fingers upward from the eyebrows.
- Lastly, using the knuckles, push from the base of the jaw upwards to right underneath the cheekbones. Once the cheekbones can be felt on your knuckles, slowly wiggle your arms back and forth. Finish by changing the motion underneath the cheekbones to pushing up towards the ears.
- To finish, lightly stroke the sides of the neck downwards, with the pressure starting at the top of the neck and getting lighter as you glide down.
- Perform for 5-7 minutes.
How to Self Massage Your Feet
- Bring one foot to sit on the chair so that your knee is next to your chest.
- Cup both hands around one foot. Begin massaging the front of the feet with your thumbs and the back of the feet with your fingers at the same time in an up and down motion with a pressure that feels comfortable.
- Use the thumb of one hand and begin to deeply knead into tender areas of the foot in a circular motion for 60 seconds.
- Finish by lacing the fingers in-between each toe and rotating your hand in a circular motion to move the ankle joint.
- Perform for 5-7 minutes.
How to Self Massage The Back of The Neck
- Place both hands at the base of the skull and apply pressure, moving the hands downward.
- Continue the same motion on the sides of the neck with lighter pressure.
- Starting again at the base of the skull, begin moving the fingers in a circular motion while moving the hands downward.
- If you feel any points of tension, bring the fingertips to the area and apply a light amount of pressure followed by a circular motion.
- Perform for 5-7 minutes.
How to Self Massage Your Shoulders
Begin by hugging yourself with your palms on opposite shoulders. Gently squeeze your shoulders inwards.
Next, relax your shoulders backwards and down.
Place your fingers on tops of your shoulders and begin to apply pressure in a circular motion.
Pay special attention to knots or areas of tension and apply deep pressure for a sustained amount of time on these spots.
Cross the right hand to the left shoulder and continue with moderate pressured circular motions. Change to the right side and repeat.
Perform for 5-7 minutes.
How To Do Self Body Massage: In Conclusion
We hope that our guide on how to give yourself a healthy body massage is helpful for you. Feel free to switch up our techniques and pay close attention to what feels best for you. Also, you can either use all techniques in one full body session or each technique one at a time. The choice is yours! Self care is a personal affair.
If you’d like to try our Indigo Harper Body Oil, we think it’d be an absolute level up with your personal massage practice. Our body oil incorporates a blend of powerful natural ingredients: arnica montana, b6, aloe, and 300MG broad spectrum cannabidiol. It’s quick absorbing, packed with natural benefits, and it smells amazing.
The statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to information from health care practitioners. Please consult your health care professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before using any product.