Nothing beats a great massage with a reputable therapist. But there’s also nothing saying you can’t give yourself a little pick-me-up anytime you’re stressed or sore. The next time worldly stresses, exercise, or an uncomfortable night’s sleep catch up with you, here are some basic ways you can unwind on your own.
*First, set up your room for your massage. Turn the lights down, light a candle, and make sure distractions are kept to a minimum.
*Sit on the floor with your legs crossed on a carpet, rug, or mat for padding. As with any stretching or yoga position, breathe deeply. Start out by taking 10 very slow, long breaths. In through your nose, hold for a few seconds, then out slowly through your mouth. As you do this, take mental inventory of where you feel tense or sore.
*Your feet, which together have a whopping 14,000 nerve endings, are a great place to start. Apply pressure to the soles with your thumbs, then rub hard with your palms. After the bottoms of your feet feel looser, go back to applying pressure along the arch of your foot and at the tips of each of your toes.
*Slowly move upward along your body, paying careful attention to each muscle group. Use a combination of kneading, rubbing, and squeezing to drive out soreness and stiffness in your muscles. Continue to breathe deeply and evenly.
*To massage those hard-to-reach muscles in your back and shoulders, we recommend a couple tennis balls tied inside a sock. You can lay on the floor with the tennis balls on each side of your spine to address your lower back. Tossed over one shoulder, in a standing position, lean into them against a wall to apply pressure against each shoulder.
*When you reach your face, rub your hands together to create heat before placing them on your forehead, temples, and cheeks. As the heat leaves, rub your hands against your face in circles.
*Rub slow, long lines up your jawbone with your fingers, starting at your chin and working out - there can be a lot of tension hiding in the jaw, so make sure to take your time.
*Squeeze your earlobes with your thumb and forefinger, slowly pulling down and away from your face. Repeat with the tops of your ears.
*Place your fingertips along the nape of your neck at your hairline. Make circular movements from back to front until you reach the top of your forehead. Go back to the center, applying more pressure, and work your way around again. Then tap your fingertips all over your scalp.
*Finish up with your hands. Put them under warm, running water for a few minutes. While your hands are under the water, squeeze one with the other for five-second intervals. Then squeeze each finger from base to tip. Push the pressure point between your thumb and forefinger while breathing deeply, then apply pressure to each fingertip for a few seconds at a time.