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The Ultimate Guide to Self-Massage: Techniques for At-Home Massage Therapy

February 18, 2022

Woman using the Theracane Massager on her back

If you find it difficult to make room in your busy schedule for regular maintenance massages, then why not learn to treat yourself with at-home massage therapy? With the right combination of techniques and tools, you can give yourself a targeted, customized massage at home for pain relief, relaxation and improved well-being.

 

This guide to self-massage covers some of the top tips for giving yourself an effective and relaxing deep tissue massage at home. We’ll also explore some of the best self massage devices available to help you better target painful trigger points and improve circulation.

Benefits of Self-Massage

Professional massage therapists, physiotherapists and chiropractors are highly knowledgeable and offer tremendous benefits. But there are some advantages of self-massage you can’t get when seeing a professional.

 

Some of the benefits of self-massage include:

 

  • Reduces costs and requires little to no investment in equipment
  • Saves you time and provides quicker relief by avoiding long appointment wait times
  • Offers more personalized and precise pain relief
  • Provides flexibility—many techniques you can use anywhere, anytime

 

Self-massage is also a great alternative for people who don’t enjoy seeing a professional they aren’t familiar with or are uncomfortable going to spas or clinics.

Self-Massage for Different Areas of the Body

You can give yourself the best massage possible using the self myofascial release technique, which is where you identify and relieve your trigger points—localized sore spots or “muscle knots” throughout your body. You can pinpoint and release these trigger points yourself using either your fingers or a massage tool. 

 

By knowing the right self-massage techniques for different areas of the body, you can regularly ease these trigger points so you can feel and move better. Over time, you can become better at finding and releasing your own pain points.

 

Note that if you’re feeling any new pain or numbness, consult your physician before trying any of the below self-massage techniques. 

1. Self Head Massage

Whether you tend to experience tension headaches or you’re just looking for a way to relieve stress, a face and scalp massage can help you feel relaxed and revitalized.

 

Below are some top tips on self-massage for headaches, targeting your face and scalp:

 

  • Temples and forehead:Place your thumbs high on your cheekbones, holding your head near your ears. Apply pressure with your fingertips, making circular motions across your temples and forehead until your fingers meet in the middle of your forehead.
  • Scalp:Place the heel of your palms on either side of your head. Push your scalp upward, holding for a few seconds before releasing. Repeat across your scalp until you’ve massaged your entire head.
  • Eyebrows:Push your thumbs into either side of the bridge of your nose. Hold for 10 seconds before releasing. Continue moving your thumbs outward across your eyebrow bone, pressing and holding in sections until you’ve reached your temples.

 

You can apply similar techniques to your cheeks, along your jawline and around your mouth to loosen facial tension.

2. Neck and Shoulder Self Massage

If you work at a desk, you may experience recurring tension and pain points in your neck and across your shoulder blades. Neck and shoulder self-massage can help reverse the effects of hunching or slouching at a computer.

 

Try the following neck and shoulder self-massage tips to feel better while you work:

 

  • Middle trapezius: Using two or three fingertips, apply firm pressure to your middle trapezius—the spot where your neck meets your shoulders. Hold pressure for 10-30 seconds and release. Repeat multiple times until you feel pain relief or deeper relaxation.
  • Upper trapezius: Bend your right arm so that your right fingertips are touching your right shoulder and locate your upper trapezius muscle. Run your fingertips across your trap muscle, starting from the outside and working your way toward the base of your neck. Repeat slowly several times until you feel your trap muscles relax. Switch to the left side.

 

If you have mobility issues in your shoulders and upper back, try using a massage stick or other device to help you target these points.

3. Self Low Back Massage

Many people who sit for extended periods experience low back pain due to inadequate lumbar support, which causes the low back discs to become compressed. Using a combination of stretching and self-massage techniques, you can relieve low back pain and boost spinal health.

 

Try the following self-massage technique for low back pain and tension:

 

  1. Stand upright with your back against a wall.
  2. Place a tennis ball or massage roller device behind your low back, between you and the wall.
  3. Move your body up and down and side to side, allowing the ball or roller to roll across your back.
  4. Continue rolling to locate trigger points, holding pressure over these spots for 10-30 seconds before releasing.

 

Adjust the amount of pressure you apply to your low back by leaning farther back into the wall for stronger pressure.

4. Hand and Foot Massage at Home

If you’re on your feet all day or work with your hands, you can benefit from a routine massage at home for these important appendages. 

 

Try these foot and hand self-massage techniques to relieve tension:

 

  • Feet: Use these self foot massage techniques to relax your feet: Grasp your foot and curl your toes. Place your thumb in the pit that forms between the heel and ball of your foot. With small circular motions, use your thumb to massage the mid part of your foot, adjusting for pressure until you feel the tension release. Repeat on the other foot.
  • Hands: Use this self hand massage after a long day of work -- even if you only used them to type. Place one hand, palm facing up, in the palm of your other hand. Relax the top hand and wrap the thumb of the bottom hand around until you reach the palm of the top hand. Using small, circular motions, massage your palm in sections, taking it up to each finger joint. Flip your hand over and massage the back of the hand the same way. Switch hands.
  • Wrists: Try this self massage for wrist pain: Grasp your wrist with your thumb on the inside and your index and middle fingers on the outside. Steady your wrist with your fingers while your thumb makes small circular massaging motions across your inner wrist. Flip your hand over and use your thumb to massage the outer wrist in the same way. Switch wrists.

 

Try using lotion on your hands and feet to help reduce friction as you massage. 

Tips for the Best Self-Massage

Get the most out of your self-massage by preparing your body and your environment in advance. You can increase the effectiveness of your self-massage by creating a soothing environment and by loosening tight spots before attempting to release trigger points.

 

The following tips can help you boost the benefits of self-massage:

 

  • Add heat: Take a hot bath or shower before giving yourself a massage to help loosen and relax tense muscles. Or add a heat source to your massage, such as a heating pad or hot towel.
  • Stretch before you begin:Whether you’re massaging your neck, back or feet, it’s a good idea to stretch gently before you begin to help loosen and lengthen tight muscles.
  • Take deep breaths:Deep breathing can also help calm your nervous system and release tension before a massage. Close your eyes and take 5-10 deep breaths, relaxing your muscles as you exhale.
  • Create a relaxing environment:Create a spa-like environment by moving to a quiet room and turning off bright lights. Sit in a comfortable chair on a supportive cushion. Play some calming music or light some aromatherapy candles to help induce relaxation.

 

Professionals also recommend drinking plenty of water after a massage to help boost hydration and encourage recovery after manipulating deep tissues.

Best Self-Massage Devices From Relax The Back

Take your self-massage techniques to the next level with massage devices from Relax The Back. Ranging from portable, handheld options to full-body state-of-the-art technologies, Relax The Back has the options you need to get a great massage at home.

 

Make self-massage part of your daily or weekly wellness routine with the following self-massage solutions from Relax The Back.

Massage Sticks and Rollers

Handheld massage devices like massage sticks and rollers help you better target pressure points in areas like the shoulders, back, glutes and legs. 

 

The Theracane® Massager, available at Relax The Back, is a self back massager that gives you the ability to reach tight spots between the shoulder blades. Designed with strategically placed knobs, using a Theracane to release trigger points, increase circulation and promote deep tissue healing is easy.

Massage Guns

Massage guns use percussive therapy to target deep tissue and improve circulation throughout tense muscle groups. 

 

The Hypervolt Massager 2 is an ergonomically designed percussion massager that delivers rapid vibration to reverse stiffness and relieve soreness. Use it on your back, shoulders and thighs as part of a daily self-massage routine or for recovery after strenuous exercise. Find the Hypervolt Massager 2 at Relax The Back online or at a store near you.

Massage Chairs

Massage chairs provide the ultimate at-home massage experience for daily well-being and recovery. Relax The Back is one of the leading providers of advanced massage chairs built with luxurious features like lumbar heat, zero-gravity recline and built-in speakers.

 

The Super Novo Massage Chair by Human Touch® is a full-body massage chair that includes foot, calf and knee massage. With an Amazon Alexa-enabled virtual therapist, you can get the personalized massage experience you want with every session.

 

Shop our selection of massage chairs at Relax The Back and visit one of our massage chair showrooms near you.

Shop Handheld Massagers and Massage Chairs at Relax The Back

Give yourself the ultimate self-massage with help from Relax The Back. Visit us today to shop all massage devices, including at home foot massagers and heated massage cushions.

 

Find a Relax The Back store near you, and stop by your nearest location to try out a massage chair in person. Or book an online appointment to get a personalized consultation with a virtual wellness specialist.



Sources:

 

  1. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/how-your-body-can-benefit-from-myofascial-release/ 
  2. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/knots-in-your-neck-how-to-try-a-trigger-point-massage-to-release-them/