Self-massage for healing by bestt571


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Before I became a massage therapist, I knew little about massage in general, yet
alone self-massage. Massaging myself when I was sore and achy never even crossed
my mind.

When I entered massage school, I was still largely ignorant about massage and self-
massage. As I learned about and read about massage, I started to wonder why this
hadn't been part of my life earlier. Massage helps treat so many conditions in a safe
way. Why didn't more people use it?

In school we also learned about some self-massage techniques, but these instances
of learning were limited. There was no specific class dedicated to learning self-
massage. If an instructor happened to think of something, she would mention it in
passing, but this information was never emphasized.

When I started my own massage practice. I had a few clients
who complained that they couldn't afford to get massage as
often as they wanted. Some of these clients had conditions
that were not getting better because they could only afford
to get massaged once every couple weeks.

I can remember one woman in particular who had recurring
low back pain as a result of tension in her piriformis
muscle. This is a small muscle that is under your glutes. It
is often a contributor to low back pain. Here's a picture of

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the piriformis. The yellow thing running under it is the sciatic nerve. The piriformis
can press on the sciatic nerve and sciatica.

This woman wanted to get massaged more regularly than she did but she was older
and on a fixed income. She couldn't afford to get any more massages in a month
than she already did. She said that felt better for a few days after her massage, but
by the end of the week her pain would start to come back.

One day after her massage session, I taught her some simple self-massage
techniques to help her lower back. One was a way to do positional release on her
piriformis by laying on the floor and letting a chair support her bent leg. To be
honest, at the time I still didn't have very much experience as a therapist and what I
told her I kind of made up. It was based on my knowledge about muscles and
massage techniques, but it wasn't a self-massage technique I had learned anywhere.

When she returned for her massage session a few weeks later, she was delighted.
She told me that she'd done the things I'd suggested and that her low back pain
hadn't returned. I was pleasantly surprised.

After that incident, I started experimenting with self-massage and teaching my
clients the things I learned. The more results I saw, the more encouraged I was to
keep learning and sharing my knowledge with others.

I think massage is a great way to facilitate healing. I also think that we need to take
responsibility for our health. Getting to know your body and how it works is part of
that responsibility. When you are aware of your body and taking an active role in
your healing, you'll heal faster and be healthier in general.

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                            Most people do some self-massage naturally. What is one
                            of your first instincts when you have a bad headache? You
                            rub your temples, right? When their neck or shoulders
                            ache most people grab them.

                            Before you slump down in your chair defeated because
                            I'm giving you one more thing to do in your already hectic
                            day, hear me out. This isn't a chore. It's not one more
                            thing to cram into your already packed schedule,
                            something else to check from your to-do list. This is a
                            way to keep your skin and muscles healthy while easing
stress and pampering yourself.

Besides decreasing your stress, self-massage helps increase circulation, reduces
blood pressure, and reduces muscle pain and tension. It can be useful in
managing fibromyalgia, headaches, arthritis, depression, insomnia, and chronic
fatigue. Self-massage also helps increase self-esteem and body acceptance.

Self-massage can also help you become more familiar with your body. When
something is wrong you'll notice it more quickly and will be able to pinpoint what is
wrong more easily. The better you know your muscles, the better you'll get at
massaging away your own aches and pains.

Let's take a look at three forms of self-massage. Each is different and one might suit
your lifestyle more than the others. Whatever suits your lifestyle, I recommend
making one or all of these methods of self-massage part of your health care routine.

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                                  Dry Brushing

Your skin is the largest organ in your body. Most people don't think of the skin as an
organ. Most people don't stop to consider all the functions their skin performs. It
acts as a barrier protecting our body from germs and disease. It regulates the
bodies temperature. Your skin helps in your body detox. One fourth of the toxins
your body releases daily are excreted through the skin. One third of the blood
getting pumped around your body goes to feeding your skin.

Skin brushing has been practiced for centuries. The Japanese vigorously rub their
bodies with a loofah before bathing. Ancient Greeks used spoon-like skin scrapers to
remove dirt and improve circulation before bathing. Cherokee Indians brushed their
skin with dried corn husks to enhance the skin's beauty. Comanche Indians scrubbed
their skin with sand.

Dry skin brushing is an easy and a effective way to improve your health. Here are
some of the positive effects it can have on your health:

            increase circulation
            improve digestion
            improve lymph flow
            decrease cellulite
            increase overall skin health
            strengthen the immune system
            removes dead skin cells

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Who thought that you could get some much benefit from something that only takes
5 minutes a day?

                      Here's what you need to start your own dry skin brushing
                      routine. You can use a brush that has natural bristles, like
                      some type of animal hair or vegetable fiber. Synthetic bristles
                      are too sharp and will irritate the skin. It's best to have a brush
                      with a handle so that you can reach your back with no problem.
                      Some people like to use a loofah to do their dry brushing.
                      That's fine too. That's all you need a brush or loofah and a
naked body.

When you do your dry skin brushing you need to make sure that the brush and your
skin are completely dry. Don't brush any rashes, broken skin, your nipples or
genitals. You should use a small very soft bristled brush on your face.

It's best to do your dry skin brushing right before you shower. No matter what time
of the day you dry brush you need to bathe right afterward. This way you'll wash off
any toxins on your skin and dead skin.

Start with your feet because the soles of your feet contain many nerve endings that
effect other areas of your body. You use firmer pressure when brushing the soles of
your feet. For the rest of your body use firm yet gentle strokes. Your skin will flush at
first, but as it gets used to brushing it will flush less and less. Dry skin brushing
should feel good. It shouldn't hurt.

Remember to always brush toward your heart.

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      Brush your soles in a circular motion
      Brush up your legs on all sides
      Brush your hands and up your arms
      Brush your stomach gently in a counterclockwise motion
      Brush your chest, avoiding the nipples
      Brush your back and buttock

Clean your brush at least once a month. Make sure the brush is completely dry
before using it. You should have a different brush for each person in your household
for hygiene purposes.

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                   Ayurvedic Self-Massage

You may have heard of Ayurveda. I became interested in it a number of years ago.
While I've never studied it formally, I've read a number of books on the subject.

Ayurveda is an ancient Indian healing art. It's the oldest healing art known. Ayurveda
originates with the four Veda's or four ancient Holy Books. These four books were
written in Sanskrit text and date back five thousand years. Traditional mythology
teaches that the information contained in these books was given to people by the
creator at the time the world was created. It is believed that the tradition of Ayurveda
existed orally before these texts were ever written. Known as the “Mother of
Medicine,” Ayurveda is believed to have influenced many traditional healing practices
from the East. Traditional Chinese Medicine is just one example.

In Ayurveda it's believed that all people contain three forces or doshas. These doshas
represent different elements found in nature.
            Vata = air and ether
            Pitta = fire and water
            Kapha = water and earth

You can take a quiz to find out which dosha is most dominant in you at this site.

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A person with all three doshas in equal balance is a healthy person. A person with a
dosha imbalance is unhealthy. Ayurveda helps you create a healthy lifestyle to
balance your doshas. It involves diet, mediation, exercise and self-massage.

Ayurvedic self-massage is called Abhyanga. In Ayurvedic medicine, it's an important
part of your daily routine.

This form of self-massage is done with oil. You can use whichever type of oil that is
appropriate for your dominate dosha.
            Vata = Sesame Oil
            Pitta = Coconut Oil
            Kapha = Olive or Mustard Seed Oil

Sesame oil is the most commonly used oil for Abhyanga. It is full of antioxidants and
has anti-inflammatory properties. Don't use roasted sesame oil. The antioxidants in
the oil are destroyed in the roasting process and the smell is strong. You can use any

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type of natural massage oil if you can't find these specific oils. Make sure the
whatever oil you use is cold pressed.

Ayurvedic massage calls for the purification of the oil. I usually don't do this, but you
may want to try purifying your oil. You can purify up to 1 quart of oil at a time.

Place oil in large pan and heat it to 212 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the oil is heated to
that temperature remove it from the heat and let it cool. Please be careful when
heating oil. It can be dangerous. Never leave it unattended. My clumsiness is why I
don't do it.

Traditionally, Ayurvedic massage oils are infused with herbs and flowers that have
medicinal properties. You can purchase Ayurvedic massage oils online.

You can add your favorite essential oils to the massage oil. Add oils to soothe or
energize. Remember that certain oils aren't good to use with certain conditions.
Check out a list of oils and their benefits on' s
essentials oils page.

I put my massage oil in a small squeeze bottle. This helps me control how much I
put on my hand more easily. You may want to heat your oil by placing your bottle of
oil in a bowl of warm water before your massage. If not, you can just warm it by
placing some in the palm of your hand and rubbing your hands together before
putting the oil on your body.

Place a towel down where you'll do the massage. For Abhyanga, you should use a
                                                     generous amount of oil. The towel will
                                                     get oily so choose a towel that you

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don't care about. You can use the same one again and again for your massage.

Do your massage in a warm room where there is no draft. It's best to do the massage
in the morning before you shower. I usually do my massage in the bathroom.

Abhayanga consists of long fluid strokes like effluerage, but done more briskly and
circular strokes around the joints. Yous should start by massaging your scalp. This
way you don't have to worry about getting oil in your hair. If you're going to wash
your hair anyway you may want to be oil in it. Oil can help condition and soften the
hair. Once you finish massaging your scalp work your your down the rest of your
body. Pay close attention to places where you feel sore and do some petrissage or
friction on those areas.

Once your all oiled up sit on your towel and close your eyes and relax for a few
minute. This lets the oil soak into your skin. Then take your shower or bath. Don't
slip. If you've massaged the soles of your feet they're slippery. I skip the soles of my
feel so I don't break my neck in the shower.

For the few extra minutes you spend in the bathroom every morning giving yourself
a massage, you'll get a number of benefits.

            smoother softer skin
            increased alertness
            improved circulation
            stimulation of nerve endings

I really notice the increased alertness. I'm not a morning person, but doing my self-
massage helps wake me up.

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Do-in, pronounced dough-een, is a form of self-massage that was originally practiced
by Taoist monks. It follows the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TMC).

In TMC the body is believed to have various pathways called meridians that energy
or chi flows through. These pathways flow through certain organs. Each meridian is
named after an organ it flows through. If the energy in a meridian is blocked it
causes dysfunction in the body and in the organ the meridian passes through.

Do-in combines meditation, stretching exercises, and self-massage. The self
massage piece of do-in is what I want to focus on today.

Do-in is best done in the morning, but can be done anytime of the day. You should
not do do-in right after you've eaten a meal. Give some time for the food to digest
maybe a couple of hours. No oils are required in do-in. Ideally, you should be in a
relaxed environment without distractions, and you should be wearing loose
comfortable clothes. A do-in session could take as long as 30 minutes or as little as

In do-in, you use your loose fist and finger tips to tap your body. Other strokes used
in do-in include pressing, rubbing and kneading. Here is an example of a simple do-
in routine.

      Use your loose fist to tap the top, sides and back of your head.
      Start from the center of your forehead and working out, use your fingertips to
      rub in a circular motion.

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Massage your temples with gentle circular motions.
Rub you cheeks and jaw using the same motion.
Massage both of your ears by squeezing and rubbing them.
Use your fingertips to brush down the front of your neck.
Knead the back of your neck.
Now stretch your neck on all sides. Don't do a circular motion with your neck.
Just give it a good stretch in all directions.
With your loose fist tap the top of your shoulders starting from the neck and
working your way out.
Knead your shoulder muscles.
Use your loose fist to tap down the inside of your arm and up the outside of
your arm.
Thoroughly knead your arm muscles to work out any soreness.
Stretch your wrists.
Use a circular stroke to massage your palm.
Massage each finger by squeezing and releasing from the base all the way up
to the tip.
Shake out your arm gently.
Repeat on the other arm.
Tap your ribcage with your fingertips.
Slap the side of your ribcage with your palm.
Use your loose fist to tap your back and buttocks. When tapping your back
avoid the kidney region.
Use your fist to tap down the inside of your leg and up the outside.
Knead your leg muscles.
Squeeze and release your calf muscles.
Rotate your ankle.
Tap the sole of your feet with your fingertips.

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      Massage the sole thoroughly and massage each toe.
      Bounce your leg gently to shake it out.
      Repeat on the other leg.
      Lie on the floor for a few minutes, breathe deeply and relax.

If you want to learn more about do-in you can take a course. It involves more than
this brief routine. Learning the philosophies and exercises used in do-in can improve
your health and positively impact your life.

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With these new routines you're equipped to start making self-massage part of your
life. As you practice self-massage you'll feel healthier and more grounded. Having a
simple full body self-massage routine that you practice regularly will help prepare
you to treat muscular dysfunction when it occurs. Choose one of these styles of self-
massage and try it for 30 days. That's how long it will take before you begin to
notice a difference in the way you feel.

Combine these self-massage techniques with a healthy diet, regular exercise and
meditation and you'll have the perfect combination for a long and healthy life.

If you found this ebook useful please let other people know about it by Twitter,
Facebook or your blog or website. You can also link to
to help educate others about the benefits of massage.

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