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  • Writer's pictureLakeland Family Chiro

Massage Thyself

by Amanda Mccracken

With COVID-19 going on around the world, a lot of you may not be able to or may not feel comfortable going to your local massage therapist and finding relief. This article aims to help you find relief at home with some simple self care. Easing muscle aches and pains on your own is easy and effective!

We take our cars in for an oil change every three months or every 3,000 miles, but how often do we treat our bodies as well as we do our cars? Countless studies prove that in addition to decreasing cortisol (stress hormone) and increasing serotonin (happy hormone), massage can help increase range of motion.

However, maybe you don't have time or the funds to schedule a massage, or you might be stuck at home. Perhaps you simply don't feel comfortable with a stranger touching your body. Luckily, there are simple ways to self massage trouble areas to help your body run as smoothly as your car.

FOAM ROLLER. This tool helps "iron out" your muscles and fascia (the sheet of connective tissue that encapsulates muscle and viscera). Roll out your back, thighs, calves and butt muscles. There are plenty of YouTube videos to show you how to use a foam roller correctly.

Foam rolling helps to break up sticky adhesions in the muscles (and between the muscles and fascia) that decrease their elasticity and their ability to glide over each other. If you don't want to buy a foam roller, you can use rolling pin on your leg muscles.

ICE MASSAGE. Get the benefits of both ice and massage by freezing a paper cup filled with water.

When it's frozen, apply it to sore areas in a circular motion. As the ice melts, peel away the paper to expose more ice. I love using this on shin splints, knees and the bottom of the foot. It helps decrease inflammation and flush out the area to bring in nutrient rich blood.

SPORT BALLS. Use tennis, lacrosse and golf balls to apply pressure to trigger points. Often, by releasing the sensitive taut tissue (trigger point), you can stop referral pain "triggered" by the point. Choose balls based on the surface area you want to target and the intensity needed.

I like to freeze golf balls to roll on the bottom of the foot to address plantar fasciitis. I keep a tennis ball in my car to roll out tight areas in my butt and lower back while at a stoplight. You can also lie on these balls or pin them between you and the wall to roll out tension in your lower back and between your shoulder blades. Never rest on a ball for more than five seconds, otherwise you will be cutting off blood flow to the area, which prevents healing.

These exercises are easy to do while you are watching TV or even reading. If you follow these cheap and simple tips, you'll increase flexibility, improve posture and prevent the need for more expensive and time consuming therapy.


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