Massage has many wonderful effects on the physical and mental health of the person being massaged and fortunately, you have your very own massage therapist with you at all times -your hands! Most of us practise the art of self-massage unconsciously, whether rubbing
our forehead or temples to relieve a headache, or scrubbing down in the shower. You can use self-massage to energise yourself in the morning or unwind in the evening.
Here are a few of our favourite self-massage techniques.
Relax your shoulders
Shrug your shoulders, bring them close to your ears for five seconds, then relax them down, feeling the tension ebb away. Repeat twice more. Squeeze and knead one shoulder firmly with the opposite hand, then change sides and repeat.
Self Indian Head Massage Photo Gallery
Relieve your neck
Your neck can hold a lot of tension that may restrict the flow of blood to your head, leading to headaches and lack of concentration, so massage here is very beneficial.
Hold the back of your neck with one hand and squeeze firmly to ease muscle tension. Lift your chin slightly and place both hands either side of the back of your head. Using your thumbs, firmly press into the base of the skull, supporting your head with your fingers. Start behind the ears and work in towards the middle of the neck, directing the pressure upwards. You can also apply friction in the area.
Relax your face
Place your hands over your face, with your fingers on your forehead and the heels of your hands on your chin. Hold for five seconds, then slowly and gently draw them out towards your ears as you imagine all the tension dissolving from your face.
Soothe your eyes
Put the heels of your hands into your eye sockets and hold for a few seconds while you enjoy the darkness; then slowly glide your hands out to the sides. Repeat a few times. If your eyes feel tired from staring at your computer all day, rub your hands together vigorously until you feel them warming up; then cup one hand over each eye, feeling the heat soothe your eyes.
This exercise is great for eyestrain
Open your sinuses
Place the pads of your second or third fingers between your eyebrows, press down and rub outwards, tracing your brow line as you go. Repeat from the mid-line of the forehead and at the hairline. Then place the pads of your fingers either side of the bridge of your nose and apply friction as you work down the sides of the nose. Use your fingers to massage your cheekbones, making small circles, starting at the centre of your face and moving out toward your ears. Finally, place your thumbs on your temples and massage them in small circles. This also relieves tension headaches.
Massage your head
To drain away tension and leave you feeling relaxed and alert, place your hands on your scalp, spreading your fingers and thumbs to cover as wide an area as possible. Gently rotate them as you breathe deeply through your nose to promote good circulation. Most of our breathing is shallow so bringing in more oxygen helps to relieve fatigue and tension. Work your hands all over your scalp from your hairline to the nape of your neck and then reverse the direction. To keep your hair in top condition, you can also do this with your favourite oil.
Soothe your soles
If you practise massage, you will be on your feet most of the time so it’s important to look after them. Sit in a comfortable position so you can easily reach your feet (e.g. cross-legged on the floor). Working on one foot at a time, hold your heel with one hand and with the other hand, massage each toe thoroughly. Gradually move down to the ball of your foot and knead this for a few minutes; then slowly work over your sole and down to your heel. You can use your favourite lotion to keep your feet soft, or apply sesame oil at night, which calms the nervous system and promotes good sleep. There are lots of acupressure points on the feet that can benefit the whole body.
An ancient Indian quote says:
Diseases do not go near one who massages his feet before sleeping, just as snakes do not approach eagles.’
Massaging your feet has many health benefits
Pamper your hands
If you use your hands regularly it is important to take good care of them with a daily massage.
Apply your favourite lotion and start by clasping your fingers and nibbing the heels of your hands together in a circular motion. With your hands still clasped, use one thumb to massage the area just below your other thumb, moving towards the centre of the palm. Repeat with the other hand. Release your fingers and use your thumbs (on palm) and index fingers (on back of the hands) to knead your palms, wrists, and the webbing between your fingers. With one hand, gently pull each finger of the other hand. Finish by using your thumb and index finger to pinch the webbing between your other thumb and index finger. There are lots of acupressure points on the hands that can benefit the whole body.