Tag Archive: massage

Self-Massage for Self Care (Part 2)

By Fay Porter, LMT

Self-Massage is a fantastic opportunity to give yourself the gift of daily self-care.  With a little intention and creativity, you will find that you have many opportunities throughout the day to help decrease your stress, decrease your pain, and to help you feel more connected to your body.

You might be nervous or curious about how to start.  We were all naturally gifted with a sense of touch, and you will know best what kind of touch feels best to you.  Don’t be afraid to turn your five-second body washing routine in the shower or your nightly moisturizing into a luxurious, connective experience.  A simple way to start becoming familiar with self- massage is to apply lotion or cream on your hands. Breathe deeply and focus on the texture of your skin, and notice which depth of pressure naturally feels best to you.  Notice any areas of tension or discomfort, and spend extra time there.  Try different types of touch and keep breathing deeply and you will start to notice that tension melt away under your fingers.

It’s a good idea to keep your touch pretty light at first, especially around any areas that are bruised or that might have cuts. As you become more familiar, you can give your entire body the gift of massage.  You can also try focusing on light sweeping strokes from the ends of your fingers or tips of your toes up your limbs and towards your heart for a more detoxifying and circulatory effect.  Notice how your body feels after you finish compared to when you started.  As you become more familiar with your body and start incorporating self massage into your regular routine, you may find that it can help you develop much more self confidence and body awareness.

Self-Massage for Self Care (Part 1)

Self-Massage for Self Care—The Benefits

Fay Porter, LMT

Massage is an important aspect of any self care routine, but it doesn’t have to be isolated to the massage studio a couple of times a month.  The benefits of Swedish massage are available to you in your own home every day, and are invaluable for stress relief, pain reduction, and increasing overall health.  Using regular skin lotion and intentional touch, you can give yourself the gift of massage whenever and wherever to keep your body up and going until that next sports massage appointment.

This can be especially important for new and competitive athletes.  When you begin new exercise programs or stretch to reach new levels of performance, you can experience lactic acid buildup in your muscles, which can lead to soreness, decreased performance, and a feeling of overall fatigue. A massage therapist specially trained in sports massage can work with you to achieve increased flexibility, range of motion, and increased performance, but that shouldn’t stop you from taking a couple of extra minutes for yourself when you’re getting out of the shower or when you have a moment.  Even sitting at your desk, you can take a minute to work on your forearms, hands, and neck to reduce the tension and stress that can build up from everyday work.

The Mayo Clinic has found massage to be helpful for:

  • Anxiety
  • Digestive disorders
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia related to stress
  • Myofascial pain syndrome
  • Paresthesias and nerve pain
  • Soft tissue strains or injuries
  • Sports injuries
  • Temporomandibular joint pain

Check back in with us here at Big Toe in Part 2 of our Self-Massage series where we will discuss the mechanics of how to give yourself a helpful, health-promoting massage.