Soothe stress with self massage september october 2008
fingertips for the client
By Laurie ChanCe Smith
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36 massage & bodywork september/october 2008
Soothe StreSS with Self-MaSSage
“One of the best things you can do
for yourself when you are under
If stress manifests itself in headache,
a neck-and-shoulder massage “can “Not only does
stress is to take a break and get a often relieve tension headache more
massage,” says Kristine Kaoverii effectively than painkillers, advises self-massage
Weber in Healing Self-Massage. Here Jenny Sutcliffe in The Complete Book of
are a few self-massage techniques to
relieve stress when you are between
Relaxation Techniques. Atkinson adds
that gentle strokes with the fingertips
appointments for professional massage.
Even a few minutes of self-massage
across the forehead can help you
relax. And in Healing Massage, Susan localized aches
sprinkled throughout the day can Mumford suggests long-stroking the
reduce stress and worry, increase focus, foot from heel to toe for stress-relief. and pain, it
encourage stillness, and provide a time According to Weber, a three-step
to just breathe. Not only does self-
massage relieve localized aches and
ayurvedic Indian head massage helps
reduce stress. This method is easily
pain, it encourages a general state of
peace that alleviates “the cumulative
accomplished sitting in a chair or lying
down. First rub your temples with your general state
effects of stress,” writes Mary Atkinson fingertips in a gentle, circular pattern
in A Practical Guide to Self-Massage. for about one minute. For the second of peace.”
“A simple five-minute hand-and-foot step, “shampoo” the scalp. With gentle
massage can lower blood pressure and fingertips, massage the entire scalp Mary Atkinson, A Practical
heart rate and reduce feelings of panic.” in small circles. Begin at the temples Guide to Self-Massage.
Weber suggests learning three and move toward the back of the head.
simple self-massage techniques to use Continue for one minute. Finish the
on any area of the body. Effleurage, Indian head massage by combing the
or long-stroking, is “a simple gliding scalp. Begin with fingertips above the
action over the skin,” Weber says. forehead, at the hairline, and comb
Petrissage “is a kneading stroke used to over the top of the head and toward the
lift up the muscle and wring or squeeze neck and shoulders. Weber suggests
it.” Kneading can aid the body in repeating this stroke 10 times.
ridding itself of waste; use a brisk stroke Practicing self-massage daily helps
on a small area of the body to create increase awareness of life stressors in
friction to target deep muscular tissues. between your professional massages.
Nicola McGill, a holistic Remember: whether you seek a
complementary therapist who professional massage or a self-massage
blends aromatherapy with massage, respite, savor those moments when
says when dealing with stress, we you can focus solely on yourself.
must ask ourselves, “Where is the
stress coming from? And how is Laurie Chance smith savors any
it affecting the body?” If stressors opportunity for healing massage. you may
are causing a digestive problem, for contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
example, the focus of massage may
center on the abdominal region.
For more information, visit massagetherapy.com 37