SELF-CARE BETWEEN MEDICAL MASSAGES
By Jackie Carlos, LMT
If everyone could get a massage twice a week, the world would be a better place. Since most of us can’t visit a massage therapist that often, here are some self-care tips to add to your daily routine between massage sessions. These recommendations only take 5 minutes to do.
If you are ever unsure about any of these recommendations, please don’t hesitate to ask your massage therapist for guidance. Remember that none of these should cause pain or discomfort. Never continue to do a technique that causes you pain as this could be harmful to your health.
First, find a routine that works for you and design a self-care plan or goal. Are you working on relieving overall stress? Preventing injury? Rehabilitation after surgery? Figure out what your goal is, then stick to a realistic routine that you can accomplish.
Basic Self-Massage - Start by creating a relaxing setting. Turn off all electronics, turn on some soft music, and take a few deep breaths. Using a massage oil, begin by using broad massage strokes over a painful or tense area to warm up the soft tissue. Once the soft tissue is warmed up, transition to smaller, slower, deeper and more concentrated massage strokes. Once that body part feels relaxed or the pain in the area is diminished, you can end the treatment with a few more broad massage strokes. Then move onto the next body part.
Upper Trapezius Release – Start by sitting down with your back straight. Then bend your head to one side until you feel a gentle stretch along the opposite shoulder. Take deep, slow breaths as you hold this stretch for 30 seconds to a minute. Then switch sides.
Childs Pose - Kneel on the floor (preferably on a yoga mat). Bring your feet together and sit on your heels. Separate your knees as wide as your hips and walk your hands away from your body until you feel a stretch throughout your back. Tuck your chin to your chest so the base of your skull is away from your neck. Rest your hands on the floor and hold this stretch for 30 seconds to a few minutes.
Tennis Ball Foot Massage – Did you know that a tennis ball can alleviate foot pain? This can be done by rolling a tennis ball around the bottom of your foot. We recommend that your use light pressure initially and then slowly progress to medium pressure. Do this for several minutes under both feet.
Single Knee to Chest - Lay down on your bed or on the floor. Hug one knee to your chest, keeping the other leg straight on the floor. Keep your low back pressed to the floor and hold for 30 second to a minute. Switch legs and repeat 2 to 4 times.
Try to make your routine as convenient as possible so you can maintain it. We recommend that you set up an app on your phone to remind you to begin your routine, track goals, and take notes of what your massage therapist has recommended. These self-care routines can become effortless and help you feel healthier and happier between your massage therapy appointments.