by Lisa Khiev
Image credits @pierrot
Our bodies are naturally designed to self heal. Learning what tools and healing modalities align with your body can allow you to self-regulate and tap into the body's ability to heal. One way to bring yourself back into balance is through self massage.
Practicing Self Massage
The beauty of self bodywork and massage is that not only does cost next to nothing, but you can also easily do it daily — morning or night — to release deep tension, self-soothe, get back into a state of mental and emotional balance. Tension is held in our necks, upper back, lower back, hips and the head, and elsewhere in the body that needs attention.
Your body is always speaking to you; take a moment to listen. You’ll know which body part when it begins to ache with pain or experience the occasional headache. Physical pain, the ones that comes out of nowhere, can derive from deep-seeded mental and emotional pain. Self regulation through both the mind and body is a key practice to healing & getting your nervous system back into a “rest & digest” state.
Self massage, in the short term, immediately brings mindfulness directly to your body, cultivating attention to the here & now as you tune into the feeling, giving your mind the pause it needs to reset. It revitalizes your body, then your mind, to energize you when you are experiencing brain fatigue, anxiety or sluggishness. It detoxifies your organs and skin while letting your life force energy flow freely. When you nurture yourself through self massage daily, whether it be as little as five minutes, you’ll feel alive from the inside out, and stimulate life force energy (or what is known qi in the healing practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine).
In the long term, self massage cultivates a life-long practice of providing loving kindness to the self. By getting intimate with your own body, you reconnect. Self love is a life-long journey for most and this practice is one of the ways you give yourself back the love you give to others. Self massage, when practiced incrementally over time, has astounding long term benefits — like less pain, more movement, body alignment, and more positive gain. All you need for the practice is yourself.
What You’ll Need for Self Massage
- Your own touch
- A skincare tool, like gua sha massage tools, acupressure point massage tools or a foam roller
- Face or body oil of choice
How to Self Massage
Tension exists everywhere on the body, but we feel it most in the neck, upper back, and the temples.
Try these simple steps on any point of tension for an easy, self massage session:
Sit comfortably. Make sure your back and neck is straight (no slouching).
Apply a body oil for extra slip. Place your two or three fingers (the index, middle and ring) on point of tension.
Begin slowly circulating your fingers in small clockwise motions, putting pressure on the fingers to knead into the skin or the surrounding areas of tension. Don’t forget to take slow, deep breaths to the belly.
The beauty of self massage is that it serves as a reminder that you are your own healing source; you have the ability to bring yourself back into alignment.
Self-massage is an intuitive practice, tune into what feels good for your body. Explore at your own pace and let us know how the practice is treating you.