You don’t have to book a professional or even enlist a friend’s help to give yourself a wonderful, soothing massage. If you know the correct techniques, then it’s possible to experience many of the benefits of a salon or health centre treatment any time you feel in need of a boost or want to wind down.
By unblocking energy in the meridian channels that run like invisible connective highways through the body, you can relieve many common problems. Origins, the aromatherapy-inspired natural beauty company, suggest a self-massage programme based on an eastern system called ‘Do-In’. You can massage without any oil or cream at all, but they do make it easier and, we feel, give a more pleasurable sensory experience.
Before you begin, here are some important Dos and Don’ts on self-massage…
- Never massage skin that is bruised, cut, grazed, reddened, inflamed or swollen.
- Always pour massage oil into your palms first, to warm it – cool oil can be a shock to your skin.
- Always breathe deeply while performing massage movements. In addition to giving your body a healthy supply of oxygen, inhalation is the most direct means of receiving the benefits of essential oils.
- Never use excessive pressure on painful joints, bones, muscles or varicose veins.
- Never massage yourself when you are running a fever (it can raise your temperature even higher) or are suffering from flu, viruses, nausea or infection. Pregnant women and those with heart disease or high blood pressure should consult a physician before a massage.
- Massage movements should always be in the general direction of the heart. The only time it is beneficial to massage away from the heart is when you are in a tense state. It will soothe and calm you.
- To ensure full benefits of the essential oils, don’t wash them off. So don’t bathe or shower for several hours after treatment.
Once you’re ready to begin your self-massage, here’s how to go about it. (Of course, you can do this massage for other people, too. And they will love you for it!)
- Pour massage oil into the palms of your hands, rub together and then spread oil over the specific area you are working on.
- With your thumb, massage the soles of your feet using circular motions. Work your way from the heels to the toes.
- Alternately, take hold of fleshy areas of your leg, working upwards in sections from calves to thighs to buttocks. Gently and rhythmically squeeze them as if you were kneading dough. Use the heel of your hand to make repeated, firm, circular movements on areas of tension or cellulite. This friction creates intense heat which increases absorption of essential oils to relieve discomfort.
- Place your hands at the base of your back, on either side of your spine, with your four fingers pointing towards the centre of your spine. Stroke firmly upwards as far as you can comfortably reach. Repeat several times.
- Using clockwise motions, gently circle your abdomen with the palm of your hand. Abdominal massage is excellent for ensuring general well-being and relaxation.
- Repeat step 3 on your arms, from wrists upwards.
- Using your whole hand, grasp the flesh on either side of your neck and shoulder and, with firm pressure, start at the base of the skull and work down as far as possible until you reach the shoulder. Repeat until you reach the outside of the shoulder.
- Place your fingers on each side of your neck and, with firm pressure, start at the base of the skull and work down as far as possible until you reach the shoulders. Repeat three times.
- To end your massage, place the flat of your right hand on your left foot and your left hand on your right foot. This creates a positive-negative charge in the body, which is calming, releases stiff muscles and wakes up the nervous system. Count to 20, then slowly withdraw your hands. Relax for a few moments. Feel how you body absorbs your magnetic energy as it passes through your hands…