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  • Writer's pictureHollywood Institute

Massage Therapy for Stress Relief: Techniques You Can Practice Yourself

Massage therapy has long been known for its effectiveness in relieving stress, reducing anxiety, experiencing better sleep, and helping those muscles not feel as tight as before. It’s probably one of the reasons why self-care through massage has only grown in popularity over the last few years. It gives the body a chance to relax and unwind. Even when the sole purpose of getting a massage is for the physical benefits, a massage therapist can do immense wonders to help your mental well-being. It’s an opportunity to refocus and find clarity on what matters.




But with life being what it is and money sometimes in short supply, you may not be able to get to your therapist’s office as much as you’d like. Fortunately, stress relief massage at home is a possibility. Self-massage techniques can help you relax (and refocus) between appointments. It’s just a matter of devoting your time to the practice.


Self-Massage Techniques at Home


Self-care through massage shouldn’t be reserved for the spa or your massage therapist’s office. There are several self-massage techniques that you can practice at home, mainly focused on the trigger points in your body. Let’s go over a few:


  • Head massage


One of the easiest will be between the eyebrows, as all it takes is pressing your thumbs into either side of the bridge of your nose for 10 seconds. Then, move your thumbs up and outwards, placing the same pressure level nearest the inside of your eyebrows. Hold for 10 seconds. Move outwards again, repeating the same pressure and length of time until reaching the temples. Think of it as a face massage, just a mini version.


If you want to keep focusing on your head, move onto your scalp. But instead of using your thumbs, press the heels of your palms slightly behind your temples. Then, push upwards and hold for 10 seconds. Move your hands up and do the same motion again. Continue until you’ve massaged your entire scalp.


  • Lower back


Another of the easier self-massage techniques will involve your lower back, but you will need a tennis ball to do the exercise. Position a tennis ball between the lower part of your back and a wall, then proceed to move your body vertically in an up and down motion. A side-to-side motion is also recommended. As you do so, you will inevitably find a trigger point. At this time, hold the position and press into the ball for 10 seconds to 30 seconds.


  • Neck massage


With neck self-massage techniques, you’ll primarily focus on the area between your neck and shoulders. Place two to three fingers on this area and apply pressure for 10 to 30 seconds. Release, and then repeat.


If you feel adventurous, you can move onto your shoulders — the back of the shoulders, to be exact. What you’ll be working on is your upper trapezius muscle. Cup your left hand on the outside of your right shoulder, then slowly run (and press) your fingertips along this area until reaching your neck. Repeat as many times as you’d like, then do the same for the other side.


DIY Relaxation Methods


Though this should go without saying, self-massage techniques aren’t the only way to relax and reduce anxiety between massage appointments. Numerous DIY relaxation methods help calm the mind and relieve stress.


  • Deep breathing

Deep breathing is closely tied to yoga, but you don’t need to practice yoga to reap the benefits of deep breathing. Inhale deeply through your nostrils for a duration of five seconds, followed by a breath hold for three seconds. Exhale slowly through your mouth for six to seven seconds. Repeat.


  • Meditation

Meditation techniques vary, but you only need a quiet place to sit, close your eyes, and focus on the breathing technique mentioned above. Focusing on your breath will clear your mind of any distractions. Try it for a few minutes every day, and then try to extend the time from there.


  • Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy has been used for years to reduce stress, minimize anxiety, and promote relaxation. One of the most popular DIY relaxation methods requires a small investment, but it can be worth the cost. A steam diffuser with lavender, chamomile, and peppermint essential oils can often do the trick.


Relaxation is within reach for everyone. You just need to make it a priority in your life. If you’d like more techniques or want additional information about massage therapy, Hollywood Institute welcomes you to reach out. Contact us today.

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