It may seem as though massage therapy is a newer wellness trend, but the use of touch as a healing method dates back at least 5,000 years. Scholars believe that Hindus used massage as a sacred natural healing practice in 3,000 BCE as part of their Ayurvedic system. Throughout the ages, massage therapy traveled from China to ancient Greece and Rome. All of these cultures embraced massage therapy as a natural cure for various ailments. Presently massage therapy is considered a valuable healing technique worldwide.
Why Self Massage?
While there are many qualified massage therapists out there, some people choose to practice self-massage for effective pain relief. Furthermore, one study showed that individuals suffering from myofascial pain dysfunction syndrome (MPDS), which causes chronic pain, can benefit greatly by combining self-massage and at-home exercise. (1)
Due to our modern lifestyle, many people find themselves working in front of a desk for long periods of time, which can create pain in the neck, shoulders, and back area. Learning self-massage techniques to alleviate the pain in these areas can be very helpful.
Self Massage Benefits
These are some of the benefits of self-massage:
- It can lessen pain in various areas.
- It can mitigate feelings of anxiety and depression.
- It can help to achieve better sleep.
- It may improve immune function. (2)
- It can ease sore muscles and swelling. (3)
Self Massage for Neck Pain Relief
If your neck feels stiff or sore, try the following self-massage technique to ease the pain.
Place two or three fingertips where your neck meets your shoulders.
Apply pressure in the area.
Using circular motions, slowly make your way toward your ear, where the neck and head meet.
Release the area and roll your shoulders gently backward and forward
Repeat three times
Self Massage for Shoulder Pain Relief
Hunching at a desk all day can lead to shoulder pain. This self-massage can help.
Bring the shoulders away from your ears, and little by little, bring your chin towards your chest to stretch your neck.
Place your right fingers atop your right shoulder (upper trapezius area), and gently squeeze three times.
Repeat on the left side
Self Massage for Back Pain Relief
Unfortunately, back pain is a common malady due to various issues like muscle strains, nerve irritation, or damaged discs. Yoga and stretching exercises can help manage back pain as well as this self-massage technique (you will need a tennis ball).
Place the tennis ball between your lower back and a wall.
Find areas of tension by moving your body side to side or up and down.
Apply pressure for few seconds in the painful spots to release tension
These self-massage techniques are intended to ease mild pain. If you experience ongoing or intense pain, reach out to your physician for further diagnosis. Some conditions might not benefit from self-massage sessions, consult with your doctor before trying self-massage if you are experiencing:
Fractures, burns, and healing wounds
Deep vein thrombosis
Taking blood-thinning medications