Saturday, 28 June 2008

Self Massage - Do it Yourself

Now that you have been introduced to all the basic strokes, I am sure you can hardly wait to put the moves together into a complete sequence. Don't worry if you don't have a willing partner close at hand, because doing a massage on yourself is the perfect alternative! By practicing on yourself, you can discover how your hands might feel on others.

Legs and feet

Our legs and feet have to support all our weight so it's not surprising that they often ache and feel tired. A good massage can relieve this tension and leave them feeling light and energetic. Knowing how to massage your legs is useful whether you lead an active or a sedentary life, and regular massage of your thighs can even improve their appearance.

Few things are more exhausting and aging than sore feet. By massaging your feet daily, you can relieve tiredness and really relax; in fact, some practitioners, notably reflexologists, believe that foot massage can stimulate your whole body.

Soothing aching legs

With massage, you can relieve aching legs after standing for too long and help tired muscles recover after exercise. As in other parts of the body, light strokes stimulate the lymphatic system and deeper strokes help circulation. Always use firmer strokes as you work up the legs toward the body, and use oil to keep the movements fluid.

  1. Start the massage by stroking your left leg up toward your body, applying a firm pressure as you go. You can either stroke one hand after the other, or place one hand on either side of the leg and stroke both hands together.
  2. Next, knead your left leg. Using alternate hands, squeeze and release the flesh at the top of your thigh, working rhythmically and methodically. Work all over the top of your thigh, down to your knee, and continue along the back of your thigh. Then knead your calf muscles in the same leg.
  3. Soothe your leg with criss-cross strokes. Place one hand on each side of your thigh at the knee, and pull your hands upward, squeezing your leg. Release your grip, cross your hands over, and glide them down the other side of your thigh. Then pull up your hands to repeat the action. Continue, working all the way up your thigh.
  4. To soothe and relax your knee, apply circular pressures with your fingertips all around your left kneecap. Next, stroke softly behind your knee, stroking up toward your body
  5. When you have completed the massage on your left leg, repeat the whole sequence on your right leg.

Easy relief for feet

Your feet are among the easiest parts of your body to self-massage, and it's something you can do wherever you happen to be. If you are sitting, simply rest one foot on the opposite thigh. If you prefer to lie down, keep one leg bent up and rest your other foot on your raised thigh. Give one foot a complete massage first, then transfer to the other one.

A great way to start a foot massage is to soak your feet in a bowl of warm, scented water.

Fill a large bowl with warm water and add a couple of drops of your favourite essential oil (lavender and peppermint are my favorites). Put your feet in and luxuriate for as long as you like before starting the foot massage below.

  1. Rest the sale of your right foot on your left knee and sandwich your foot between your hands, with your fingers facing forward. Rub your hands backward and forward along your foot to warm the whole area.
  2. Support the heel of your right foot with your left hand and clasp the toes with your right hand. Energetically squeeze, extend, and flex your toes to increase their flexibility.
  3. Still supporting your right foot with your left hand, massage your toes with your right hand by squeezing, twisting, and rolling each one in turn with your fingers.
  4. Place one thumb on top of the other, using your fingers to support your foot, and make deep, circular thumb pressures over the sale of your foot. Stroke the area. Repeat the whole sequence on your left foot.

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