Massage therapy stimulates your muscles, calms your nerves, and improves your circulation along with other biological functions. Carrying these basic benefits, different massage techniques are now available to serve specific needs and health concerns. Read on to learn more about these different approaches and how you can do them at home.
Lymphatic drainage massage
The lymphatic system consists of vein-like vessels and glands called lymph nodes. It facilitates important processes like metabolism, immune responses, and waste disposal. The lymphatic drainage massage focuses on optimizing these functions by directing lymphatic fluid flow and removing obstructions in its path.
It’s not as complicated as it might sound. This is a particularly light massage that you can apply on yourself with minimal risk and effort. Your lymphatic vessels are located just beneath the skin, so you don’t need to apply a lot of pressure.
How to do it:
- First you need to prepare your lymphatic vessels by lightly stimulating them. Using your fingertips or palms, lightly drag on your skin towards the direction of your heart and trunk. Start from your palms and wrists and work your way towards the armpits. Repeat this on your lower body starting from your ankles, going upwards.
- The next stage involves clearing the lymphatic vessels of obstructions. Start by laying flat on your back. Then, cross your hands above your chest and lift your elbows up to clear the area around your collarbone. For your arms and legs, repeat the sequence from the first stage; but gently press down into your muscles this time.
- The final stage is reabsorption, which involves directing the flow of lymphatic fluids. This process is quite similar to the first stage: start with the extremities and work your way towards your torso. You’d also apply the same dragging strokes over your skin, but with more pressure and pumping motions this time.
Deep tissue massage
This approach is quite known for its satisfying intensity and knack for pushing the limits of one’s comfort. It borrows certain techniques from Swedish massage, and goes further by stimulating the innermost layers of your muscle tissue. This is great for muscle recovery, releasing muscle tension, and warming up for workouts.
While it takes a professional therapist to manually perform this, there are also devices powerful enough to do the job. The massage gun is a device that delivers percussive strokes deep into your muscles.
Here’s a quick guide on how to use it:
- These devices come with changeable attachment heads. Choose the one that most closely matches the size of the muscle group you’re massaging.
- Pick a comfortable speed setting and glide the massage gun across one muscle group at a time.
- Feel free to press it deeper into your muscles to relieve muscle tension. Although, some higher end units like the Hydragun massage gun offer enough depth for most people.
- Do this for 15-30 seconds and repeat on the other muscle groups.
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Believe it or not, some exercises work your muscles very similarly to how massages would. This happens when certain movements gently stimulate your muscles and internal organs. And yoga does exactly that, which is why it’s considered a form of self-massage.
Here are few easy poses you can try:
- Glute bridges – lay flat on your back with your arms straight to the sides, then bend your knees up. Lift your hips up, keeping a straight line from your chest to your knees. Hold for 15-30 seconds then release down.
- Sphinx pose – lay on your stomach, put your legs together, and point your feet back. Tuck your hands under your shoulders with palms flat on the floor. Lift your upper body using your lower back, buttocks, and thighs. Engage your core to hold the pose for 15-30 seconds, then release.
- Cat cows – Start on all fours, distributing your weight evenly on your palms and knees. Inhale, slowly arch your spine downwards and look up. Upon exhaling, slowly arch your spine upwards and tuck your chin into your chest.
- Child’s pose – From a kneeling position, sit on your ankles and draw your knees slightly outward. Proceed to walk your arms forward and bend downwards. Relax your upper body over your knees to stretch you back. Hold for 30-120 seconds and sit back up.