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How To Perform Self-Massage

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Visiting a massage therapist is a costly exercise. Still, if you have suffered a major injury or are experiencing severe muscular tightness it is often the best course of action. In many less severe cases self-massage can be a helpful tool.
What you'll need: 
Massage oil/lotion
Tennis ball
Smooth, round wooden rod
Exercise mat
Close-cell foam roller
Self-massage is an effective way to reduce tension, soreness and tightness by working at trigger points and aggravated areas. It is also useful prior to performing pilates or other activities requiring flexibility.
Begin by warming your hands. This can be done by rubbing them together or running them under a warm tap. Make sure your hands are properly dried after warming. Sit comfortably on a basic wooden chair with good posture and your feet touching the floor directly under your knees.
Work on your head and face with all of your fingers and both thumbs. Use the fingers to 'walk' over the scalp and massage in firm strokes. Walk your fingers down the face starting at the hairline. Gently massage your temples with your thumbs.
The neck and shoulders can easily become tensed up, causing discomfort and sometimes leading to headaches. Remove your shirt and place a small amount of lotion or massage oil on your hands. Use a firm 'pinch and release' motion and press firmly on trigger points with your thumbs. You will need to apply enough pressure to cause some discomfort in order to release the tension.
Tension in the arms and forearms can be caused by repetitive motions such as typing or playing a musical instrument. Applying a small amount of oil or lotion to the area, massage firmly with the base of an open palm. This will allow you to penetrate deeply. Run your thumb along any trigger points or fibrous areas. Use the tips of your thumb and fingers to massage the area with a circular motion.
A round wooden rod can be used to massage many areas of the body, including those which the hands have difficulty reaching. Applying firm pressure, run the rod down the length of the affected areas repeatedly. This is particularly effective on calves, buttocks and thighs.
A tennis ball allows you to perform self-massage of the hips, buttocks, legs and back. Placing a mat on the floor and lying on your back, place the ball beneath the area you wish to massage and roll back and forth over the specific areas.
Back massage can be performed with the help of a dense foam roller. Assuming the same position on the mat, place the roller beneath your upper back. Lift your body slightly at the hips, tighten your stomach muscles and roll over the roller until it reaches your lower back. Repeat as needed.
Self-massage is an inexpensive and often highly-effective method of alleviating muscular tiredness, tension and soreness.


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