This massage therapy discussion was inspired by products that I received at no charge to review. All opinions expressed here are my own.
For the last 6 months I have been going for massage therapy at a local spa to treat some neck and shoulder problems. After ignoring my assorted pain issues for way too long I decided I was too young to feel this stiff and sore all the time. I live in a rather large suburban city so finding a massage therapy location was relatively easy. However, I quickly discovered that GOOD massage therapy is not cheap! I was not really comfortable going to someone’s home or having strangers in my own house so that meant I needed to find either a spa or office of some sort that does massage therapy. The closest one to my house is a full spa which is pricy but absolutely decadent. I am going once a month right now and trying to fit massage therapy into my weekly routine at home to get me from one appointment to another. I thought I would put together a few hints for a DIY massage therapy session so that if you do not have the time, money, or access to a spa you can start doing it yourself at home. If you have any other massage therapy suggestions I would love to hear them!
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Do it Yourself Massage Therapy
1. Start with loosening up of the muscles: Massage therapy is much more effective on muscles that are already warm and loose. Either do a few minutes of light stretching or yoga or you can hop in a warm shower for a few minutes before getting started.
2. Set the mood: One of the greatest things about my massage therapy sessions is the relaxing atmosphere. Set the mood for your own massage with aromatic candles, low lighting and some relaxing music.
3. Prepare your space: You don’t want your masseuse to have to leave you every 10 minutes to go get something. Make sure you stock the area with things like a scented eye pillow, massage oils, wipes or a towel to clean off the excess oil from hands, muscle rubs like Tiger Balm or something similar if you are suffering from sore muscles, and anything else you think will come in handy. Put together a little basket that you can use every time you set up your massage therapy session at home.
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4. Include heat in your massage: Heat is very effective at loosening up muscles. I prefer natural heating pads like Thermal-Aid because there are no cords to worry about. Your massage location is not determined by where the closest outlet is. Thermal-Aid is a professional grade 100% natural heating and cooling pack that is filled with corn and wrapped in a natural cotton. They have many sizes available but the one I tried out was the medium sectional. 2 to 3 minutes on each side in the microwave and it was the perfect temperature. It was just the right size to lay across most of my back to help loosen up the muscles before the massage.
5. Start out light: Don’t have your partner start out the massage too rough. Make sure to begin your massage therapy session with long, gentle strokes to start loosening up your muscles and prepare them for a more vigorous massage.
6. Don’t stick to just hands: Most people consider hands to be the way to give a massage but you can also include elbows, old tennis balls, and (according to my husband the marathon runner) orbital buffers! Yes, there are a number of marathon runners who swear that an orbital buffer is the best way to get trigger points to loosen up. Trigger points are very tight balls of muscle that just take some serious attention to break up. Do some research if you are going to try the orbital buffer so you know what sort to buy and how to use it in your massage.
7. Invest in quality massage oils: Cheap massage oils are just not worth your money. Artificial scents and ingredients can cause skin irritation and headaches which are not a great way to end your massage. You can create your own unique scents by starting with a base oil like olive oil, coconut oil or almond oil and then adding natural essential oils. Depending on your preferences you can include relaxing scents like lavender or something invigorating like peppermint. I am a huge fan of aromatherapy and there is a scent for just about every purpose…whether you want clarity for your thoughts or emotional wellbeing. Aura Cacia has a wide variety of essential oils and aroma therapy products that are perfect for massage therapy. They are formulated from 100% pure essential oils, to provide true aromatherapy benefits for the mind, body, and spirit. I used the peppermint essential oil to make coconut lotion bars and the lavender essential oil is wonderful in a bedtime bath for relaxation.
8. Consider self massage: The tricky thing about massage therapy is that usually you need a partner to do the massaging. However, certain areas of the body can be massaged by yourself. Check out WebMD for ways that you can include self massage into your daily life.
9. Drink a big glass of water: Massage therapy can actually be a bit dehydrating. You are working your muscles and releasing water and toxins from inside muscle cells. Finish off your massage with a big drink of water or herbal tea to help rehydrate and flush the toxins from your body. Add fruit to ice water for a refreshing flavor without any added calories for artificial ingredients. There are a number of herbal teas that help flush toxins from the body as well.
10. Finish off with a quick shower: Taking a warm shower after your massage will help rinse off the massage oil so it does not clog pores. Don’t make it too hot and you only need to be in there for a few minutes. Add some essential oil to the corner of your shower floor for a final boost of aromatherapy.
Massage therapy is a great way to clear our heads and help our bodies stay limber and healthy. Are you a fan of massage? Any tips that I may have missed for a do it yourself home massage?
Disclaimer: In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials.”: I received product samples in exchange for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation. All opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone. Some of the links in this post may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.
Diane has a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology with a Minor in Health Management and Policy. She spent many years working in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging as a way to share this knowledge with others. While passionate about health and the environment she can’t quite give up her favorite Cheetos and Diet Coke! Learn more about her HERE.