When you think of therapeutic massage, what comes to mind? Chances are, you think of a nice relaxing room with a professional massage table, clean towels, dim lighting, relaxing music, various oils, and other massage-related tools (such as hot stones). These are important aspects of any professional treatment, as they provide both the aesthetic and the practical tools for deep relaxation and healing.
And there’s one more obvious thing you think about: A professional massage therapist! You would give up all of the fancy equipment and essential oils if it meant having a really skilled professional therapist. All of that knowledge, skill and experience is where every good massage therapy treatment begins and ends.
But is it always necessary to have a massage therapist in the room if you need a treatment? Some would argue that it’s not. A friend or partner can give you a shoulder rub, and many couples like to “trade” therapeutic massages throughout the week to keep their muscles more relaxed. These treatments certainly aren’t on par with professional massage therapy, but they can be very useful!
However, it’s not actually necessary to have anyone else present for massage therapy, whether they’re a professional or not. There are a number of effective “self-massage” techniques that can go a long way toward releasing muscular tension and improving health.
1. Use a ball for your feet
Tennis and Lacrosse balls are great foot massagers – and there are also a lot of specialty “massage ball” products on the market. The beautiful thing about giving yourself a foot massage in this way is that you can rely on gravity to produce that stress-relieving pressure. Happy and relaxed feet are highly beneficial to the rest of the body!
2. Work your thighs and calves
The legs and calves are the easiest areas of the body to massage with your hands, and they also happen to be common sources of stiffness and pain. Taking a few minutes to knead out the tension in your thighs and calves will boost circulation, promote relaxation, and help you perform better in daily life.
3. Roll it out
Having you back worked on by a professional therapist is one of life’s great pleasures, and it’s also incredibly healthy when done right. There are various chairs that can relieve tension to some extent, but there is a simpler and cheaper way to massage your own back. By learning to use a specialized foam roller in the correct way, you can rol out that back tension at will.
Seek a skilled professional
Let’s face it – self-massage may be useful, but professional massage therapy is another level altogether. The health benefits are well-documented, including better circulation, healthier blood pressure, elimination of toxins, better sleep, deeper relaxation, mental clarity, and much more. But nobody wants to put the time and money into receiving professional massage therapy if the results aren’t going to be great. That’s why it’s so important to stick with reputable, trained, and experience massage therapists who take their trade seriously, and consistently deliver top quality massage therapy to every client who comes their way.