At the end of a long, hard day, a nice massage sounds great. But what happens if you don't have anyone around to do it for you? While you can't get the same deep massage on your own, you can benefit from a relaxing solo massage. With the right techniques and tools, it's actually not that difficult to sit back and relieve tension in all your achy muscles all by yourself.
1. Use Your Fingertips
When it comes to your neck and shoulders, the best way to work out small knots is by using your fingertips. Use your left hand on the left side of your body and vice versa. Use firm pressure and make small circles with your fingertips to gradually release the tension anywhere on your neck or shoulders. When you try to use your whole hand, you often end up making your arms hurt and adding more tension to your shoulders.
2. Try Reflexology
A good solo massage doesn't mean you have to be a contortionist. Instead, try reflexology to relieve aches and pains. Hand, face and foot reflexology are common to take care of aching muscles, headaches, joint pain and more. As long as you can reach these three areas, you can relieve tension throughout your entire body. It does take practice to learn the right pressure points and firmness to use. However, it's well worth the effort.
3. Take a Warm Bath First
If possible, let a warm, relaxing bath do part of the massage for you. The hot water helps your muscles relax. This makes it much easier to work any remaining tension out later. Use a soothing bath soak such as a lavender or vanilla. For sore muscles, try scented Epsom salt. Spending 15-20 minutes soaking is the perfect prelude to an amazing solo massage. Of course, if you can't soak, try leaving warm wraps or towels on your trouble areas for five minutes first.
4. Use Sports or Exercise Balls
My favorite part of a massage is getting a nice back rub. After all, it's one of the areas you can't really reach on your own. Get a basketball and tennis ball so you have varying sizes and firmness. Press the ball against a wall and wedge it in with your back. Move your body to massage your back with the ball. Firm exercise and stress balls work just as well. Place the ball at different heights on the wall to reach different areas of your back.
5. Use a Foam Roller
Your lower back is usually one of the more tense areas on your entire back. For a truly effective solo massage, place a foam roller on the floor and lie down on it so your lower back is on the roller. Use your feet and arms to gently slide yourself back and forth across the roller. You can also just lie on the roller if you extremely tense areas. If the roller is too painful to use, use a soft towel rolled up instead.
6. Start Light
It may be tempting to dig right in, but it's actually better to start your massage lightly. Gently rub your legs, arms, abdomen, hands and feet before applying firm pressure. The gradual build up helps you relax better. Plus, the less time you have to spend using firmer pressure, the less likely you arm to have tired arms and hands later. Spend at least a few minutes building up to the typical firm pressure of a massage for best results.
7. Stretch when You're Done
Massaging yourself means you'll be bending and stretching in ways you're not really used to. The end result might be slightly stiff muscles, even after the massage. To prevent any lingering issues, take a few minutes to stretch after your massage. Roll your shoulders and neck to work out any remaining kinks. Touch your toes to stretch your legs and arms. Finally, raise your arms and bend back slightly to stretch your abdomen and back.
While it might not be quite as satisfying as a normal massage, solo massages are still great. Plus, you can get one whenever and wherever you need one. With a little practice, you'll feel more relaxed than ever before. Have you ever given yourself a massage before?