How to Massage Yourself

Three Methods:Preparing Your Body for a MassageMassaging Your Upper BodyMassaging Your Arms and Legs

Does your body feel stiff and sore when you wake up or after a long day of work? You don't have to shell out serious cash for a professional massage to relieve the tension in your body and improve your circulation. Instead, you can spend just a few minutes a day massaging yourself and you will feel the pain and pressure leave your body. If you want to know how to use a few killer techniques to massage yourself, just follow these steps.

Method 1
Preparing Your Body for a Massage

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    Take a warm bath. This will loosen up your muscles and will make them ready for a massage. Soaking in some Epsom salt alone will help to alleviate soreness.[1]
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    Dry yourself with a warm towel. Place a towel in a dryer while you're taking your bath to warm it up. When you get out of the shower, feel the relief from drying yourself with a nice warm towel.
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    Consider keeping your clothing off. Skin-to-skin contact is more effective than massaging through clothing. However, if you're using a foam roller to massage yourself, or lack privacy at home, you can put on some light clothes.
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    Apply massage oil to your body. Massage oil will help heat up your body and will help make your massage be more effective. Any massage oil, lotion, or sports balm will help break down knots and loosen your muscles. To apply massage oil, just place a drop of the oil in the palm of one hand and rub your hands together for at least fifteen seconds, until you've heated up the oil.

Method 2
Massaging Your Upper Body

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    Massage your neck and shoulders. Massaging your neck and shoulders can help relieve headaches. Use your left hand to stroke your left shoulder and the left side of your neck, and vice versa. Gently but firmly work your fingers in small circles, starting at the base of your skull and working down towards the shoulders. When you feel a knot, work it out in small circles with your fingers, massaging clockwise and then counter-clockwise. Here are a few more self-massaging techniques to try:
    • Place your hands into fists and gently rub your spine in a circular motion.
    • Place your fingertips at your ears and gently move them down your jaw until both hands meet up at your chin.
    • After you have worked out all the knots, stretch out your shoulder blades by hugging yourself.
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    Massage your abdomen. This massage is perfect for menstrual pain and can help improve your digestion as well. Place the surface of one hand on your abdomen and gently stroke it in a circular motion. Then, use the fingers and thumbs of both hands to knead your abdomen. Gently use your fingers to stroke your lower abdomen in circular motions. If you'd like to stroke the sides of your abdomen, just roll over to one side and then the other to have better access to the opposing side.[2]
    • While standing, bend your knees to the left while massaging the right side of your abdomen.
    • Apply pressure on different parts of your abdomen with your fingers, and release after a few seconds.
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    Massage your back with a ball. Take a ball of any size, from a tennis ball to a basketball, and press it up against a wall with your back. Move your body back and forth and in circular motions to relieve the pressure from your back. Place the ball on different parts of your back, from your lower to your upper back, to relieve the tension from different parts of your body.
    • For added variety, you can alternate between using a larger and smaller ball during the same self-massage session.
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    Massage your lower back with a foam roller. You can wear clothes for this. A foam roller will work best, but you can also roll up a large blanket, towel, or yoga mat in a pinch. Place the roller on the floor and lay face up on the roller. Position your lower back over the roller so that your shoulders and butt are touching the floor and you're perpendicular to the roller.
    • Use your feet to help you move up and down the roller slowly, feeling the roller move up and down each of your vertebrae.
    • Gently roll up or down the roller until you find a trigger point or a painful area. Then, stay rolled over the area for at least 30 seconds. This will hurt a bit, but it will relieve the tension from the area afterwards.
    • To target smaller areas of your back, use a rolling pin instead of a blanket.

Method 3
Massaging Your Arms and Legs

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    Massage your arms. To massage your arms, start by making long flowing strokes with the opposite hand all the way up your arm, from your wrists to your shoulder. Continue to make these long strokes until you feel your arms heating up. Then, transition to making smaller little circles all over your forearms and upper-arms.
    • Switch back and forth between the long-flowing strokes and the smaller circles until your arms feel heated and relaxed.
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    Massage your hands. Gently squeeze one hand by pressing it between the palm and fingers of your other hand. Then, squeeze each finger and run the thumb from your other hand along the joints of the fingers in a circular motion. Hold the finger at its base and gently pull it up so that you're stretching the fingers upwards. Use your thumb to stroke the tendons on the back of the hands.[3]
    • Use your thumb to put pressure on your palms and wrists, moving it in a circular motion.
    • To complete the massage, stroke your palm gently from your fingers to your wrist. If you're using oil, rub your hands together to massage the oil further into your hands. You can also complete this motion even if you're not using oil.
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    Massage your legs. Glide your fingers over your legs, starting at your feet and working all the way up to your waist. Glide your fingers over your calves, shins, quads, and hamstrings. Start with light motions and then dig in with your palm, moving in firmer circles. You can start squeezing your muscles with one of your hands, massaging them with your fists, or even pressing into them with your elbow.[4]
    • Try the drumming technique. Use the side of your hand to make a gentle chop all the way up your leg. This can help ease cramped muscles and relieve soreness.
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    Massage your feet. To massage your feet, dig your thumbs in a circular motion into the soles of your feet and the bottoms of your toes. You can also start at your ankle and rub your thumbs outwards across the top of your feet and down the toes. You can support your foot with one hand while working on each toe with the other hand. Squeeze each toe and gently pull it upward. Place your thumb on each of the joints on your toes and move it in a circular motion.
    • Massage the soles of your feet either by creating circular motions with both of your thumbs, or putting your hand into a fist and running it up and down the soles of your feet.
    • Use your fingertips to stroke your ankle up and down.
    • Squeeze your Achilles tendon several times.
    • Finish the massage by gently stroking your foot.


  • Pleasant and appropriate music will help create a relaxing mood for your self-massage.
  • Aromatherapy may be practiced during self-massage for further benefits.
  • Try using a tennis ball to massage your feet. Put it on the floor and roll it with each feet. Persist on places in which it hurts.
  • Try lightly kneading with your fingers to get a relaxing, ticklish feeling.

Article Info

Categories: Spa Treatments & Massages