If you follow us on Facebook, you know that we have a lot of fun seeking out the silly unofficial holidays that seem to pop up every calendar day (hello, National Joke Day last Friday). One “awareness week” that recently hit our radar was Every Body Needs A Massage Week, which is observed this month. After a little research, it seems that there’s more substance to this than just the silly name we were bound to make light of.
No denying it, massage is expensive. With prices that range anywhere from $50 to hundreds of dollars for just a half-hour, historically massage has been viewed as a frivolous luxury that most of us just can’t justify. That being said, perceptions have changed over the past few years. According to the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), 90% of survey respondents in 2011 stated that they “perceive[d] massage therapy as effective in reducing pain….” This percentage has grown exponentially just since 2009. Despite this acceptance of massage therapy as a beneficial treatment, the tough economy appears to be keeping people from heading to their massage therapists for even occasional treatments. In fact, 2011 saw a 30% reduction in trips to massage therapists, according to the AMTA, despite the fact that a growing number expressed a need for massage.
Boasting results like a reduction in lower back pain, arthritis pain management, and help with insomnia, most of us would benefit from regular massage therapy. Because it can be hard to add regular massages into a tight budget, we decided to scour the web, finding easy at-home massage techniques to share. They’re safe, beneficial, and best of all…free!
WebMD.com’s “Massage Therapy for Stress Relief and Much More” is an all-encompassing, vital step-by-step guide that explains how to easily apply gentle pressure and massage techniques to relieve tired, strained eyes, ease headaches and tension, soothe tired feet, and more. For example, WebMD explains that you can lessen a headache often by placing your thumbs gently on your temples while moving them in a circular motion.
Another excellent home-massage compendium is LiveStrong.com’s “How to Do Self-Massage,” featuring massage tips to relax shoulders, soothe feet and relax hands–an important area to stretch if you spend a lot of time typing.
While the title is maybe a bit misleading (a facelift is impossible through massage alone), care2.com’s article “Massage Yourself a Face-Lift” takes you step-by-step through a facial massage. Using a great skin oil (no, that’s not an oxymoron) like extra virgin olive oil as a moisturizing slip agent, do-it-yourself massages like this one can help soothe, relax, and rejuvenate.
Of course you don’t have to complete a structured series to feel the benefits of massage therapy. For those who wear high heels often, simply lacing the fingers of one hand through the toes and spreading them gently can reduce foot fatigue and that “pinched” feeling. For those with back pain, place three (or more) tennis balls on a carpeted floor, then lie down on them making sure the tennis balls are arranged near the source of the back pain. The rubbery balls give just enough so that they don’t hurt, yet the rigidity allows the back to stretch and relax.
With simple at-home, do-it-yourself massage techniques like these, you may find that you can stretch your dollar by seeking professional massage therapy less frequently. Why celebrate Every Body Deserves a Massage Week just one week out of the year? With a little practice, you can celebrate relaxation and comfort every single day.