Sep 19, 2014

Ease Sore Muscles

A massage is a great way to ease tired, sore muscles. Research shows that even just 10 minutes of massage can reduce inflammation, improve blood flow and reduce muscle tightness after exercise, helping the body to repair itself faster.

But there’s no need to pay for a spa retreat every time you feel like a massage. Simply enjoy a hot shower or bath to relax tense muscles, slip on some comfortable clothes and try these DIY massage tips.

1. The tennis ball massage


All you need is a tennis ball to roll slowly and gently over tender areas until the tension is released. If your back is sore, stand against a wall with your heels touching the wall and the ball between your shoulder blades. Lower your hips, keeping the ball against the wall, so it rolls up and down your back.

For your lower legs, sit on the floor with your legs extended and place the ball underneath the belly of your calf. Lift off the floor slightly and glide hips back and forth. For your buttocks, sit with hands and feet on the floor with your legs bent. Place the ball underneath you on one side and swivel hips in a circular motion.

You can also slip your shoes off in the office and gently roll the tennis ball from the heel to the base of your toes and back.

2. Scalp massage


Turn a regular hairwash into an opportunity to relax, by taking the time to massage in your shampoo and conditioner thoroughly before rinsing. If you’re at your desk and feel tense, grab a handful of hair close to the scalp and clench your fist, then release. Move your fist back and forth to allow your scalp to move over your skull. To finish, knead your scalp in circular motions, then comb your fingers through your hair with enough pressure so you are stroking the scalp, not just your hair.

3. Hand massage


Giving yourself a hand massage is easy and can help you relax and recharge after a busy day. Choose your favourite moisturiser and rub into the heel of your hands in gentle circular motions, working your way across the base of your palm. Then grasp the web of muscle connecting the thumb to the rest of your hand with your other thumb and forefinger. Move up and down to release tension and relax the muscles. Continue to massage the muscles on both sides of your hand and each finger, then gently pull each finger and stretch them back towards your wrist until you feel a stretch. Press your palms together at chest height and lower them slowly until you feel a stretch. Spread your fingers wide and hold for 5 seconds, then finish by shaking them out.

4. Neck and shoulder massage


This is ideal if you sit at a computer all day and have lots of tension in your neck and shoulders. Shrug or rotate your shoulders until the muscles warm and relax. Then place your left hand on your right shoulder and tilt your head to the left, using your fingers to gently knead the shoulder and neck area while it’s stretched. Repeat on the other side.

5. Facial massage


Facial massage is a favourite of beauty therapists and make-up artists everywhere, but it’s easy to recreate the pampering feeling at home. Start by drawing big circles on your cheeks using your fingers or knuckles, moving upward. Then rub from the mid-jaw to the cheekbone with long, upward strokes, pressing firmly for a moment at the top. Work smile lines with upward strokes, from the corners of the mouth to the corners of the nose.

With your fingers, lift and hold both brows to open up the eye area. Rub in a circle around the eye socket out to the temples, eventually expanding to include the forehead. To massage the lips, use thumbs and index fingers to quickly pluck all across the top and bottom lip.

Remember to see your doctor if there is any pain and avoid DIY massage if you have a medical condition.

Do you have any DIY massage tips to share?