The benefits of self massage and a how-to guide
Are you currently working from home and feeling the effects of sitting in a less-supportive chair than usual? Or perhaps carrying a little extra stress in the muscles around your neck and shoulders? Self-massage can be a great tool to help decrease tension, increase blood flow, and help improve symptoms due to annoying niggles such as headaches or tight muscles. While there are a lot of benefits for self-massage around the neck and shoulders, there are also a lot of benefits for self-massage to the rest of the body.
A lot of people own a foam roller or spikey ball and have a great routine for muscle lengthening and maintenance with these items, however there are those occasions when we don’t have access to them, or simply need a ‘quick fix’ while sitting at the computer screen. Whether you can feel tension building in the neck after a long day of school/work/study, or you’ve just increased your running loads and the foam roller isn’t quite hitting the areas you need in the quads, self-massage can be greatly beneficial. Luckily, there is one person who knows exactly where those sore spots are……YOU! This provides you with the perfect subjective information to perform self-massage and help yourself at those times when you perhaps can’t get into the clinic or can’t access another tool.
Take a look at the video below, guiding you through ways to self-massage the upper traps, sternocleidomastoid (SCM) and quadricep muscle groups. The only equipment you will need is a towel and some cream or oil if your skin is dry, and all of these techniques are performed in a seated position. For the upper trap technique, a soft fist or pads of the fingers are used, for the SCM it is a pincer grip between the thumb and pointer finger, and the quadriceps are self-massaged with reinforced thumbs or knuckles. Each technique is performed at a pressure that is comfortable for you, nothing should be painful. I have included a small snippet of each self-massage technique in the video; however these will be more beneficial if each technique can last for 30-60 seconds per area. If you feel like you are becoming more comfortable with these techniques after completing them a few times, you can lengthen the duration spent on each area.
At Flex, we encourage our clients to progress to a maintenance level of care, which includes a thorough home-exercise program. Self-massage can sometimes be included in this personalised maintenance program in order to help you get back to what you love doing, as quickly as possible. If you would like more information on how self-massage or a home exercise program could benefit you, or how you can incorporate it into your routine, you can book an appointment online or give one of our friendly team a call.
Written by Myotherapist, Teagan Parker