Simple Self-Massage Tips
by Raquel Hunter
If done properly, self-massage can reduce stress, lower blood pressure, relieve muscle tension, and dramatically reduce the pain of the vast majority of trigger points.
- Rub your muscle with your fingertips, thumbs, fist, or elbow. Use whatever feels easiest and most comfortable to you. Massage tools are often handy for spots that are harder to reach. If you don't want to purchase a massage tool, you can use a water bottle or a rolling pin.
- Press on the muscle or trigger point point directly, or apply small kneading strokes, either circular or back and forth, and don’t worry about the direction of the muscle fibres. The main reason to presson the muscle is to stretch it.
- Rub strongly but easily. The intensity of the rubbing pressure should be strong, but easy to live with. On a scale of 10 — where 1 is painless and 10 is intolerable — please aim for the 5–7 range.
- Become familiar with your body. Pressure on a muscle knot should be clear and strong and satisfying. After you stop rubbing the area, you should experience a relieving, "ahh" feeling.
- Rub where it hurts! Explore your body for sensitive spots. For example, if the top of you shoulder aches, search for trigger points mainly in the top of your shoulder.
- Trigger point but no pain. Trigger points may generate symptoms away from the area of the trigger point.
- Massage each suspected trigger point for about 30 seconds. Five minutes is about the maximum that any trigger point will need at one time.
- Massage your muscles as often as your body permits. If you do not experience any negative reactions, you can massage a key trigger point at least once per day, and as often as a 6 times per day.