Have you had a massage lately? We often think of them as an indulgence, or something we get every now and again as a treat. However many people find that regular massages really helps them manage their pain.
Massage is a hands-on therapy that involves rubbing and manipulating the soft tissues of your body, especially your muscles. It can improve blood circulation, ease muscle tension and help you feel more relaxed. A massage can also help relieve stress and help you sleep.
You can relieve many of your own muscular aches and tension by giving yourself a massage. You may even find that you do it unconsciously – when you’re sitting at the computer and you rub your neck, when you have a headache and you gently rub your temples, or when you’re applying a heat rub to your sore knee.
Warm up first – ease some of your muscle tension with a warm shower or applying a heat pack (warm not hot) to the painful area.
Use smooth, firm strokes. You’ll feel the difference between strokes that are relieving muscle tension, and those that are adding to it. Adjust the pressure, from hard to gentle, based on your pain.
Add some massage oil (or lotion) – it can help your hands move smoothly over the skin, however, they aren’t essential; it’s a personal choice.
Use massage aids – you can use a foam roller, massage balls or other massage aids; e.g. use a tennis ball or a golf ball to massage the soles of the feet. Simply place the ball on the floor, place your bare foot on top of it and gently roll the ball along the length of your foot. If you’re unsteady on your feet, sit down while you do this. You can also use the shower to provide a massage, especially on your neck, shoulders and back.
Do it regularly – to prevent muscle pain and tension building up.
See a qualified massage therapist –they’ve been trained to know how your body works, how to relieve muscle tension and how to help relieve your pain. They can also get to the hard to reach places, and give you tips and advice on your self-massage techniques.
Massage is a fantastic and simple way to relieve muscle aches and pains. And when you give yourself a massage, you can do it almost anywhere, and it’s free! Try it next time you feel tense and sore.