How to Give Yourself Massages

Today, in Things That Will Probably Come in Handy Really Soon: We present a simple guide to self-massage. No stressful day, punishing hike, or tension headache is a match for these techniques.

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Editor's Note: You don't have to wait until you get home to perform these moves—some are easy to complete at your desk, in the gym, or anywhere else you may feel the need to take a relaxing time-out.

Pain Point: Head

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What You Need: Your index finger and thumb

The Technique: There are ways to alleviate a headache without actually touching the part that's painful—rather it's all about stimulating your connected pressure points. (Oddly enough, increasing pressure in one place can decrease pressure somewhere else.) Here are a couple of easy-to-reach spots:

Place your index finger and thumb on either side of the bridge of your nose, and slide them up until they hit the inner-corners of your brow bone. Pinch that fleshy area and hold for at least a minute. Slide your fingers down until they're pinching the base of your nose, then press down. Another hot spot is the triangular area between your thumb and forefinger (also known as the Union Valley pressure point). Take your thumb and knead the spot for at least 30 seconds. Finally, if you're looking for a more classic approach, you can incorporate all of your fingertips and massage your temples, behind your ears, and the crown of your head. 

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Pain Point: Jaw

What You Need: Your fingertips

The Technique: First, relax your face muscles as much as possible. Open your mouth to drop your jaw and place fingertips along your jawline (five on the left, five on the right) and apply a little bit of pressure. Move your fingers in a slow circular motion (your mouth should still be open) and wiggle your jaw a little while massaging. These moves can release headaches and facial pain caused by clenching your teeth or, you know, Wednesdays.

Pain Point: Neck

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What You Need: Your index finger and thumb

The Technique: Place your fingers about two inches apart on the back of your neck. Press and move them up and down in a linear motion—you want to cover the area between the bottom of your skull (hitting this spot can also help with headaches) and the base of your neck. Repeat this process three times, and if there are still painful spots, go back over them with added pressure. 

Pain Point: Shoulders

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What You Need: Your hands

The Technique: Cross your forearms over your chest so that your hands can grab onto your shoulders. Alternating sides, drive your palms into your shoulders and then continue to knead with your entire hand. Once that's over, you can uncross your arms and massage the back of your shoulders using your fingertips. 

Pain Point: Wrists

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What You Need: Your thumbs

The Technique: Use the thumb that's on the opposite hand of the wrist that needs relieving. Relax your hand and rub your thumb in slow circles around your entire wrist. Repeat this two more times and then shake out your wrists. 

Pain Point: Hands

What You Need: Your elbows and a flat surface

The Technique: Lay the back of your hand against a hard surface like a desk or table. Bend the opposite arm (like you're doing a bicep curl) and rest your elbow in the center of your palm. Add some pressure with your elbow and gently knead the painful parts of the hand. Flip the hand over and repeat the same process on the back.  

Pain Point: Back

What You Need: Your knuckles

The Technique: Close your hands into a fist shape, then sit up as straight as possible. Tuck your forearm behind your back, then apply pressure with your knuckles—starting at the base of your spine, kneading upward. After your spine feels better, massage the left and right sides with the same movements.

Pain Point: Knees

What You Need: A chair and your fingertips

The Technique: Sit back in a chair and extend your leg until your heel rests comfortably on the ground. Reach down to your knee and push your fingertips into the sore parts, working in a nice, slow rhythm to make sure you thoroughly unravel the kinks. Once you're done, bend and unbend your knee and repeat the massage. 

Pain Point: Calves

What You Need: Your index and middle fingers and thumb

The Technique: Press your middle and index together and then make a U-shape with them and your thumb. Starting at your ankle, cup your shin bone with the U and apply pressure. While holding the U down, slowly pull your hand toward your knee. This motion will target the muscle tissue that flanks the bone, which is usually where you feel the pressure of shin splints. Repeat two more times, then apply the technique to your calf, so you can ease tension in your Achilles tendon, too. 

Share this with the friends who could use a little free TLC this weekend. 

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