If you’ve ever had a professional massage, you can attest to how amazing your body feels afterwards. Your muscle aches and pains have faded away. The stress you’ve been carrying has melted away. You feel light and airy.
But who has the time and money to do regular massages?
That’s where self-myofascial release or self massage comes in. The popular physical therapy technique can be as beneficial as a professional session and all you need is a foam roller, rolling pin or tennis ball.
The goal is to use the objects to relax the fascia that develop knots. SMR can break down these trigger points and reduce the tension in the muscles enhancing range of motion and eliminating aches and pains.
The older we get the more we sit, reducing circulation to our extremities. Start with seated exercises with a tennis ball or rolling pin first. A foam roller will provide a deeper massage that could be too intense to start. Here are a few ways to start self massaging.
Hand or foot massage with tennis ball
Sit at the table and place a ball on top. Put your palm on the tennis ball and move it in a circulation motion pressing your palm into the ball, stretch your fingers over the ball and roll it. You can target your feet the same way to improve blood flow and help painful arches. Place the ball on the ground and roll your feet on top of it, spending time on the ball of the arch and heel of the foot. Spend two to three minutes on each foot.
Glute Massage with Tennis Ball
Weak, tight glutes can’t function properly, putting strain on your lower back. Consistent self-massage is a great way to relieve hip pain and tension in your lower back. Sit on the floor with one leg extended and the other leg with the knee bent in. Place the ball under the fleshiest part of the glute (on the side with the extended leg). Gently roll back, forth and around the ball for one minute. Switch legs and repeat.
Thigh or Calf Massage with Rolling Pin
Your thighs or quads support your knees so if you have knee pain tight quads can be to blame. Using a rolling pin is an easy way to relieve that tightness. Sit in a chair gently roll the pin back and forth across the top of each thigh for one minute. Your calves could also use the same love. Gently, roll the pin up and down your calves avoiding any bones.
What other self-message techniques have you tried?