Who doesn’t have the occasional achy muscle? With most adults, achy muscles are something you learn to live with. Self-massage can be a cost-effective and safe solution, and anyone can do it. Even a little relief can help you feel better. You’re in control of the amount of pressure to exert and can stop it at any time. It may sound clichéd, but self-massage is a way to show yourself a little kindness rather than self-judgment.
Self-massage may ease minor aches in the head, neck, shoulders, abdomen, upper and lower back, glutes and hips.1 There are different types of self-massage, some using just your own hands and others, using some kind of massage tool. Some forms of self-massage include acupressure, Abhyanga from the Ayurvedic tradition, and trigger point.
In the Ayurvedic tradition, self-massage with oil is a way to help keep yourself in optimal health and balance via the skin. Since skin is the body’s largest organ, Ayurveda recognizes it as a vehicle to reach our internal organs.2 The skin acts as a protective shield as well as a gateway to nourishing the body through its pores. Self-massage also helps increase circulation and enhances the body’s ability to detox.3 The body tends to relax during massage and thereby helps reduce anxiety and improve sleep.4
Acupressure and trigger point massage work on the premise that certain spots throughout the body can be unlocked to release trapped energy or nerves. Acupressure works to release “chi” (vital energy as defined by Merriam Webster) or more widely understood as “breath” and “air” that is necessary for the clear flow of blood and therefore circulation. With acupressure, simply press on the pressure points directly and hold for a while (10–100 seconds). With trigger point massage, do the same or apply small kneading strokes, either circular or back and forth.5
The goal of self-massage with acupressure or trigger points is to achieve a “release.” Release mostly refers to an easing of sensitivity of the pressure/trigger point, and/or a softening of the tissue texture. If you are successful, you may notice a reduction in symptoms within several hours, often the next morning.6
Self-massage is an Active Wellness practice that can benefit everyone. Now through the end of July, you can get 20% off unlimited purchases of the KenkoTouch®, a state-of-the-art handheld massager with patented DynaFlux® magnetic technology and three speeds that you control. Discover It. Live It. Share It.