14 January 2009

Get in touch with yourself, literally

Massage is perhaps one of the best physical stress relievers around. But if there is no one around who wants to touch your feet, here's how to do it yourself.

No one around to rub your aching feet? Do it yourself.

Self-massage is an ancient Eastern ritual that is known to relieve stress and tension, reduce blood pressure, increase circulation and reduce fatigue. It also creates an emotional bond between you and your body that will help you to tune into your body’s needs and you’ll be more likely to pinpoint any problems.

Giving yourself a self-massage at least three times a week will give you a chance to meditate and relax. Here’s how to do it:

Feet: Just before bed, sit cross-legged under your duvet. Holding your ankles, rub the soles of your feet together to warm them. Now massage your feet all over for about 20 minutes.

Legs: Sit on a carpeted floor or on a rug with your feet together and your knees apart, forming a diamond shape. Move the left knee toward the right knee and back and visa versa, in a scissor motion. Now massage your legs from the ankles right up to your buttocks and hips to get the blood circulating. Warm up your calves, knees and thighs, using your hands. Now focus on each leg individually, using your palms to rub in circular motions towards your heart – first from your ankles to your knees and then from your knees to your hips.

Neck and shoulders: First, lie on your side on the bed or on the floor, and using slow, circular movements, massage the side and back of your neck. Then move onto your shoulders and as much of your upper back that you can reach. Now, turn over and repeat the massage on the other side.

Back: Sit up straight. Starting at the bottom of your back, position the fingers of both hands on either side of your spine. Gently "walk" your fingers up your back as far as you can go, and back down again.

Face: Lie on your back on the bed and start stroking your forehead with both hands, moving from the middle and out towards the ears. Repeat this movement as you slowly move down your face towards your chin, then gently massage around your eye sockets. Finish off with a mini-Indian head massage by briskly rubbing your scalp for five minutes.

(Health24, updated January 2009)


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