There are numerous benefits to massage:
- Stress reduction and decreased risk of depression
- Lymphatic drainage
- Pain relief
- Increased immune function
- Tissue regeneration Greater circulation of oxygen and nutrients into organs
- Better quality sleep
Obviously, nothing beats getting a massage from someone else but you can get most of the benefits by doing it yourself and making it a morning or nightly self care ritual. Taking the time to give our bodies a little attention and love everyday can make a difference in not only how we feel but how we think about ourselves.
I prefer self massage before bed because its a calm and quiet tie to focus inward and prepare for sleep, though, when its done in the morning it can be very energizing and revitalizing. Whether you do it in the morning or at night, before a shower can enhance the benefits. The oil works as a cleanser for your skin while retaining the protective acid mantal. The hot water helps your skin retain moisture and absorb the vitamins and minerals of the oils, helps the lymphatic system expel waste, and further relaxes and tones your muscles and nervous system.
Using a good quality oil like coconut, sesame, olive, almond, or make your own herbal massage oil
Starting at the base of your scull, stroke down the left side of your neck and over the top of your shoulder. Glide down your arm to your elbow and back up 3-4 times. Both on the outside of the arm and the inside. (note that most of our lymphatic system is o the left side.)
Repeat on the right side.
Make circular pressure with your fingertips on either sides of your spine working up towards the top of your neck. Squeeze the shoulders, hold and release.
Gently stroke your face from the forehead down to the chin, around the eayes and nose and behind the ears.
Work down to the neck and with sweeping motions add oil to your torso. ( sometimes just putting th oil on and checking in with your body is a massage.
In circular motions rub your lower back and work around to your abdomen. Gently rub in downward stroke from your belly button to the top of your pubic bone and then in a gentle large clockwise motion 3-4 times. Repeat counter clockwise.
Work you way down the legs to your feet.
Work each toe individually and in circular motions massage both the ball of the foot and the heal.
Next massage your hands starting with each finger and then the palms working up your fore arms.
And there you have it. Pay attention to how your body is feeling and what it needs. Stretch, breath and drink water.