So............. you need a massage. Ya, well so do the rest of us! Take a couple of minutes to read the following and you might just get what you need (at a price you can afford).
To start out with, the best person to massage you is you. You know your body, you know exactly where it hurts, and you're always around. To be fair, knowing where it hurts, doesn’t necessarily mean you'll know how to fix it. So here are some tips.
Just because you're not digging, doesn't mean it’s not helping
A light massage can be just as effective. In fact, digging into an inflamed muscle can do more harm than good. Light gliding strokes on a sore area increases blood flow and helps flush excess lactic acid that may have built up during exercise.
Rub towards the heart
This especially applies to the light strokes I just mentioned. Rubbing towards the heart helps to flush out the veins and bring in new blood, carrying along with it oxygen and nutrients to feed your muscles.
Try massaging while stretching
If you do want to get a little bit deeper into the muscle, try rubbing it while you're stretching. Part of what massage does is stretch the muscle. Starting in a stretched position can increase the intensity of a light stroke.
What about the spots I can't reach?
There are several products on the market that can help. My favorite is a tennis ball! Put it on a hard surface (kitchen floor) and you've got an instant therapist. Any “knot” you have is no match for a good Spalding! Roll it on the soles of your feet or lay on it for those tight spots in your back. “The Massage Cane” is an ingenious invention. Shaped like a giant “S”, it allows you to dig into shoulder and back knots as hard as you can stand. The foam roller is great for your hamstrings, quads or I.T. bands (sides of your quads). Put it on the floor and use your own body weight to get the desired pressure by rolling on it.
How to massage your partner
There are all kinds of books out there that “teach” you exactly that. Look for one that makes sense to you. The most important thing to remember when massaging your friend is your intention. Make sure you're not distracted. Focus on them, listen to them and really mean it. You don't have to be a pro to relax someone. Think of what feels good to you and start with that.
Where to get a professional massage
Someone you know has gotten a good massage at one time or another. Find out where they got it or who they got it from. If you've got health insurance, check out chiropractic or physical therapy clinics. You might be able to get some, if not all of your massage paid for.
When was the last time your heard someone say “I wish I hadn't gotten that massage”? Massage feels good! Massage is good for you! Enough said.
Written by Jamie Thompson, CMT