It's very satisfying to get a massage done by a professional massage therapist or by a loved one but if you are like many of us you either don't have the time, money or a willing partner. But you can do it yourself.

The benefits of massage include:

  • Reduced muscles tension
  • Improved circulation
  • Stimulation of the lymphatic system
  • Reduction of stress hormones
  • Increased joint mobility and flexibility
  • Improved skin tone
  • Speedier healing of soft tissue injuries
  • Heightened mental alertness
  • Reduced anxiety and depression.
 
If your muscles are tense it can make the pain of arthritis worse, and kneading the muscles – especially those around sore joints – can help. Muscles in the neck, arms, fingers, shoulders, thighs and legs are all within reach and applying an oil to the area before massaging helps to reduce friction and makes it easier to work your muscles.

Using an aromatherapy blend that contains essential oils is one of the best approaches because this also helps to reduce inflammation and ease any painful areas.  It also helps to stimulate blood circulation and is a great way to relax stiff muscles or muscles spasms and soothe aching joints.

The muscles of the body account for approximately 40 percent of its weight. All muscles convert chemical energy into physical power, in response to nerve signals. A muscle exerts this power by contraction, and where the nerve signal is switched off, the muscles releases and extends. Throughout the body, muscles are arranged in groups so that their contractions complement each other and this permits a wide range of voluntary and involuntary movement. Other muscles operate alone, such as the tiny muscles that raise individual hairs in the skin in response to fear or cold.

Muscles are toned by massage, which stimulates their reflexes and redistributes tension. This enables them to contract efficiently and incoordination to help make our movements graceful. The warming strokes and cooling stretches of massage are good preparation for activity and rest.

Here are some tips for enjoying your own massage:

Try a variety of different movements, including firm stroking with the palm and fingers, kneading (by ‘cupping’ muscles between the palm and fingers or squeezing with the thumb and fingers) making circles with the heel of your hand or your fingertips.

Don’t massage the same spot for more than about 15 to 20 seconds, keep changing your styles of massage moving from one area to another to mix it up and make it more interesting.

A vibrating massager may be useful for areas that you can’t reach.

But most of all trust your own instincts. Be gentle on any really painful areas and more firmer on areas such as the thighs, stomach and upper arms where cellulite and toxins can be stored.