The Art of Self-Massage (Part I)

A common lament about massage is the price. And there is also the I-don’t-have-enough-time excuse that many use to justify not getting a massage, even though their feet and head ache, their shoulders are tense, their hands hurt, and their torsos are cramp-ridden. Fortunately, there is a pretty well founded set of guidelines (found on the examiner and livestrong Web sites) for self-massage that will fit your budget, schedule, and needs perfectly. Here they are, pared down to their simplest forms and separated by body part:


For your head:

       Position your fingertips at the point where your eyebrows end and your nose begins.

       Apply gentle pressure and massage with small, circular motions.

       Continue doing this, moving along your eyebrow.

       After you’ve finished massaging the eyebrow area, massage your temples in a similar fashion

       Then massage the areas surrounding the bone at the top of your neck (the occipital bone). Use the same circular motion – gently, but firmly – with your fingertips.

       Finally, massage your scalp, this time using the pads of your fingers. Apply enough pressure to move the scalp up and down.


For your shoulders:

       Start at the base of your skull and stroke down, gliding down to your arm and elbow and back up to your neck. Have your right hand massage the left-side of your neck and arm, and vice-versa for the right-side.

       Next, with your fingertips, apply pressure through circular motion around your spine, all the way to the top of your neck (similar to step 5 in the head massage section).

       If you are feeling tired or in need of more, make a fist with your hand and gently hit your shoulders to wake yourself up and relieve some stress.


For your feet:

       Put your foot on the quadriceps of your opposite leg and place one hand on top of the foot, one hand below it. Starting at the toes, rub in a smooth stroke up to your ankle. Then stroke back down to your toes.

       Next, massage each toe individually, squeezing, stretching, and pulling.

       With your thumbs, apply firm pressure on the bottom of your foot. Use your fingertips to provide pressure in a line to the center of the sole of your foot, as well as the sides of the sole.

       Secure your foot with one hand and, making a fist, use the knuckles of your hand to massage the entire sole of your foot. Use circular motions.

       Using all the fingertips of both hands, stroke up from the ankle to the lower part of the calf. Apply pressure to all sides. Glide back down to the ankle, and repeat the process.


Next week I will write more about how to perform self-massage on your hands and torso. 

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