Nothing feels better than a massage when your muscles are feeling tight and sore, and now research suggests it might actually help with healing after a tough workout.

A new study by scientists at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) shows even mice benefit from some tender loving care to their little legs.

ADVERTISEMENT

Having applied precise, repeated forces to injured mouse leg muscles, the team found they recovered stronger and faster than untreated muscles.

“Lots of people have been trying to study the beneficial effects of massage and other mechanotherapies on the body, but up to this point it hadn’t been done in a systematic, reproducible way,” says Dave Mooney, PhD at the Wyss Institute and SEAS.

While a custom-designed robotic system applied the pressure and showed a connection between mechanical stimulation and muscle fibre regeneration, we can’t all afford fancy gadgets or a masseur to help soothe our tired, achy muscles.

With this in mind, self-massage is a good way to relieve muscle soreness, plus you’re in control and can apply more or less pressure when necessary.

Matt Flanagan, CEO and sports health specialist at E-Bikes Direct explains how you can safely self-massage to help relieve the pain…

Neck and shoulders

acupressure for relaxing shoulder and backache

It’s safe to massage your own neck and shoulders, however, as they’re vulnerable areas, care must be taken not to apply too much pressure as this can lead to soreness and aggravate any injured muscles even further. Neck and shoulder pain are often caused by overuse, lack of movement or poor posture and can be extremely uncomfortable.

How to massage your neck 

Firstly, with either exercise make sure you are not overstretching your neck, as this can cause pain and further discomfort. Straighten your neck and back and locate the areas on your neck which require massage. Press firmly with your fingers and gently move into circular motions, first clockwise then anticlockwise. Do this for up to five minutes.

Place your left hand on the neck muscle behind your left ear and apply gentle pressure to the area. Make sure your fingers/hand isn’t moving and instead slowly turn your head to the right while still applying the pressure. Repeat on the right side.

How to massage your shoulders

"Neck, back pain from sport injury, tanned muscle man massage himself."

Place two or three fingertips from your right hand on the back of your neck, where your neck and shoulders meet. Press firmly but carefully and release three times, then roll your fingers over the muscle, moving towards the base of your neck. Repeat with the left hand.

Lower back

With a tennis/massage ball: Position the ball between your lower back and a wall. Move your body either up and down, or side to side to find areas of tension. Apply stronger pressure against the ball to help relieve tension. Repeat as necessary.

Middle aged woman with a pain in the backache and lower back.

Massaging without a prop: If you don’t have access to a small ball, or are out and about, you’re able to self-massage without this. Sitting cross legged on the floor with a straight back, place your thumbs on the flat bone at the bottom of your spine, moving your thumbs in small circular motions, moving up and down. Apply firm pressure on tense spots for a moment, release and repeat as necessary. You can do this in a chair if you need quick relief while working.

Legs and feet

How to massage your legs

With a tennis/massage ball: Sit up straight on a chair and place the ball under your thigh, under any tender spots and use your body weight to move the ball around. Start with clockwise then anti-clockwise movements, and repeat if necessary.

Without a prop: Wrap your fingers around your ankle and squeeze gently but firmly. Work your way up your leg, squeezing your muscles with your fingers. Continue up to your hip and repeat from the ankle if necessary.

 

Animated GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

 

 

How to massage your feet

With a tennis/massage ball: Great for those who are not as flexible. Either seated or standing, place the ball under your foot and roll it around, clockwise and anticlockwise. Adjust your body weight to change pressure.

Without a prop: Hold the top of your foot in one hand and rub the length of the arch, from heel to the ball, with your thumb, applying more or less pressure where necessary. Repeat if necessary.

Another method, without use of a prop: Using your thumb and forefinger, move each toe individually side to side, squeezing and extending each toe gently.

Best-selling neck and back massager

Need more inspiration? Check out our list of best-selling Amazon products!

SaleBestseller No. 1
Comfort Supplies Shiatsu Back Massager Neck Massage Pillow with Heat, Deep Tissue Kneading for Neck,...
  • RELIEVES MUSCLE PAIN & TIGHTNESS: The Comfort Supplies shiatsu massage pillow uses 4 specially designed, deep-kneading shiatsu massage nodes to help alleviate muscle pain and tightness. Sit back and...
  • INFRARED HEATING FUNCTION: The built in infrared heating function blissfully soothes aching muscles and promotes blood circulation, perfect for stress relief and overall wellness. The home massage kit...
  • CLOCKWISE & COUNTER CLOCKWISE 3D MASSAGE TECHNOLOGY: Get an authentic, deep tissue shiatsu massage experience with the Comfort Supplies shiatsu massager whilst at home, in the office, relaxing in bed,...
Bestseller No. 2
iKristin Neck Massager with Heat, Shiatsu Massager for Neck, Back, Shoulder, Foot and Leg, Deep...
  • 【Deep Massage,Soothing Body and Mind】:16 massage heads of different sizes alternate with each other to bring better massage effects. The iKristin neck and shoulder massager can move freely to...
  • 【Upgrade Design,Easy to Carry】:We have added 2 hangers (2 inches) to the neck massager, which can not only provide you with a better massage experience, but also make your hands more comfortable...
  • 【Easy to Use Advanced Materials】: Just plug in the power source and press start. It feels as flexible as a human hand. You can also select heating options to provide other benefits. The massager...
Bestseller No. 3
Neck Massager Shiatsu Neck and Shoulder Massager with Heat, Deep Tissue 3D Kneading Back Massager...
  • 【Easy and Convenient Operation】The control panel are easy and convenient to use. You can adjust the panel keys at will and enjoy a good massage time at home.
  • 【Safe and Portable】Our back massager has the function of overheating protection, equipped with AC and DC adapters. It is suitable for use at home, office, travel and other places.
  • 【8 Two-way Rotating Massage Heads】The 8 two-way rotating massage heads simulate human hand structure to provide an easeful massage experience for you. The U-shaped design of the massager provides...
Bestseller No. 4
Back and Neck Massager Shiatsu Electric Shoulder Massagers with Heat Deep Tissue Kneading Massage...
  • 【Longer Strap Handles & Adjustable Intensity】The strap handles allow you to apply pressure and adjust the massager to target the areas hard to reach. Adjustable intensity button provides 3...
  • 【8 Deep Kneading Shiatsu Massage Nodes】 8 massager nodes will work together to knead and relieve aches, knots, and muscle tension like a real masseuse's hand. With ergonomic U-design, the shoulder...
  • 【Advanced Heat Function】Optional heating soothes muscles soreness and promotes blood circulation. ★It is normal if you find heating light hard to recognize because this massager is upgraded with...
Bestseller No. 5
iKristin Back Neck Massager,Shiatsu Massage Pillow with Heat, Deep Tissue Kneading Massager for...
  • 【Real-Hand Kneading Massager Experience】Our massage node with 4 deep kneading automatically changes the direction every minute, clockwise massage and counterclockwise kneading imitate the real...
  • 【Upgrade Design,Suitable for Different People】 Our kneading massage pillow can choose 3 adjustable speeds. These speeds allow you to choose the most suitable pressure to reduce muscle tension as...
  • 【Advanced Heating Function】 Our electric deep kneading massager pillow has advanced heating function, programmed by 15 minutes of automatic shutdown, and is equipped with an overheating protection...

Last update on 2021-11-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

You may also be interested in…

Wise Living Magazine may receive a small commission to help support the running of this site from purchases made from links on this page, or some links may have been sponsored to be included in the article. Affiliate or sponsored links do not influence our editorial or articles published by Wise Living.

ADVERTISEMENT

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.