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How To: Give yourself a massage

If your muscles feel tense and tight, but you have no time to schedule a professional massage, a 20-minute self-massage can help alleviate pain and tension. All you will need is a pillow, a long sock, two tennis balls, and lotion or baby powder.

  1. Sitting in a comfortable chair, place a tennis ball beneath each foot. Gently roll your feet over the tennis balls, adding pressure if needed.
  2. Next, remain seated and cross one ankle over your opposite knee. Using both hands, apply lotion or baby powder to your foot. Starting at the heel, use your thumbs to massage the foot in small circles. Continue as you move up the foot to the toes. Gently squeeze each toe and carefully bend it back and forth. Switch to your opposite foot and repeat.
  3. Carefully lie down onto the floor with a pillow underneath your knees. Place a tennis ball beneath your left buttock and roll over it, using your body weight to apply pressure as desired. Repeat on the other side.
  4. Put two tennis balls in a sock, spacing them about four or five inches apart and tie the end. Again, lie back onto the floor with the pillow beneath your knees.  Place the tennis balls at the small of your back with a ball on each side of your spine. Using your body weight, roll across the tennis balls, moving from the lower back up to the base of the neck.
  5. To massage your neck, clasp your hands behind your head with thumbs pointing downward. Make small circles with your thumbs from behind your ears to the top of your vertebrae. Repeat in a different line on the back of the neck.
  6. Lying down again, place your hands behind your head and gently lift your head and pull your chin toward your chest for a neck stretch. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds.
  7. Sit up again and lightly massage your temples and the muscles where your jaw hinges with your fingertips.
  8. Stretch your jaw by yawning deeply for 10 seconds.
  9. Finally, take a deep breath and exhale completely. At this point, you should feel relaxed and de-stressed.

Courtesy of Cindy Stark Reid, a licensed massage therapist at Cancer Wellness at Piedmont.

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