We’ve all been there: it’s been a long day, our body feels exhausted inside and out, and we’d love nothing more than to book in for a luxury full-body massage. However, this isn’t always possible – which is where self-massage comes in. “Self-massage is a vital part of detoxification, it helps build healthy bones and keeps the mind agile and alert,” says Anita Kaushal, founder of Mauli. Read on to discover the art of at-home self-massage…
Hands and Feet
The hands and feet are a great place to start, and are a crucial element of self-massage, notes Anita, who believes you should “always start from the feet”. It may sound strange, but a tennis ball can come in handy here. Place the ball on the floor and sit down with your legs at a 90-degree angle. Next, place your foot over the tennis ball, and gently and slowly roll it under the surface from the toes to the heel; this will help to stretch out the muscles and release any tension or aching. If you suffer from insomnia at night, “try rubbing a little oil onto the soles of your feet – this will promote a deep and restful sleep”, says Anita. We like the Mauli Sacred Union Scent & Dry Oil, which contains lavender, rose and geranium oils to ease your mind as well as your skin.
Our hands can often feel overworked, particularly due to the amount of typing and texting we do. If you ever feel achey at your desk, Anita has the perfect mini massage for tired hands and an anxious mind: “Make a fist with your left hand, so that the fingers rest in the middle of the palm. Locate the point where the middle finger ends, in the ‘heart’ of the palm. Then with the thumb of your right hand, press firmly on this point in the centre of your left hand”. “This particular movement will calm down the agitation of prana (our energy and life force), which can cause anxiety”, she explains.
Head and Scalp
You can give yourself a head and scalp massage pretty much anywhere, and it doesn’t take a huge amount of expertise. It’s also a great option to feel instantly rejuvenated and refreshed. Begin by putting the heels of your palms under your hairline at the temples. Next, lift the scalp using your hands and hold for a few seconds, then work around the hairline to repeat this movement. Finish by using the fingertips to gently massage the top of your head. This can be done on dry hair or when you’re using a conditioning treatment; massaging the scalp not only wakes you up but also ensures the product is distributed evenly and gets to work more quickly and effectively. You also have the option to use an aromatherapy oil, which will help to uplift the mind as well as nourishing the hair and scalp.
Neck, Shoulders and Back
These areas often feel the strain of modern life the most, and are the hardest to address yourself. There are some methods that you can do alone, however. For your upper back and neck, drop your shoulders and tuck your chin in so it sits on your chest to ease any tightness in the muscles. Follow this movement by putting your fingertips at the back of your neck and pressing firmly, holding and releasing. Finish by rolling your shoulders backwards and forwards a few times. Your lower back can benefit from putting your hands on your waist and massaging the muscles at the side of your spine. Use circular movements and continue until you feel some tension has been released.
“Massage limbs using long strokes and pay special attention to joints”, says Anita. For arms, prop up your hand on a table and use the other palm to gently rub downwards. This will release any muscle tightness, especially on the forearms. Thighs can benefit from the tennis ball treatment as mentioned above, but if you prefer manual massage, try running your elbow in a single stroke from the knee to the thigh towards the stomach. Repeat this at several different angles for the best results. A similar movement works on the calves; simply knead the heels of your palms from the ankle upwards from all angles.
There are several tools which are ideal for massaging limbs, such as the Sarah Chapman Bodylift, which as well as easing tight muscles, also drains the lymphatic system to help rid the body of toxins. If you have a Clarisonic device, invest in the Turbo Body Brush Head, which works to sonically massage muscles as well as target the skin’s surface by buffing away dead cells.
Massaging is also easier – and more pleasant – with the use of aromatherapy oils, which nourish skin and offer therapeutic value for the senses. Mauli and Aromatherapy Associates both do a great range, and Susanne Kaufmann’s Ingweröl Detox Oil features an intoxicating mix of ginger, rosemary and avocado oil which is great for overworked, exhausted muscles post-gym.