6 Simple Self Massages to Relieve Stress and Reduce Pain

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Self Massage: Why You Need This in Your Self-Care Routine

woman doing shoulder masssage with balls against the wall 

In the current day and age that we live in, stress is a significant part of our lives. Whether it’s because of the people around us, our jobs, our relationship problems, or general anxiety, stress is always a part of our day.

Over time, stress can lead to a host of problems—from chronic health conditions to persistent muscle aches. Prolonged stress can also make us more anxious, more lethargic, and less happy.

But we don’t have to let stress overwhelm us. One of the best things we can do to help manage stress is through massage therapy.

Now, while the idea of getting a professional massage every day might seem nice, it isn’t practical for most of us.

So, why not learn to do it on your own?

It isn’t as hard as you think.

I’m happy to have Anthony, a professional masseuse guest posting for us today. He’s going to share his insight on the healing art of self massage. Check out Anthony’s website dedicated to how to use massage chairs and massage chair care (details at the bottom of the post).

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Benefits of Self Massage


Self massage Pinterest image a bottle off essential oil with soaps and lavender sprigs


Research shows that massage therapy can produce a variety of positive health effects, such as:

  • Reducing muscle tension and soreness
  • Speeding up recovery from soft tissue injuries
  • Lowering anxiety and stress
  • Improving mental alertness
  • Increasing mobility and flexibility
  • Improving blood circulation and aiding immune function

Besides providing these important health benefits, massage can also create a feeling of comfort and deep relaxation.

For all its benefits, massage therapy should be part of everyone’s health and mental health routine.

But like I mentioned earlier, getting frequent massages from the pros isn’t feasible for most of us. What if we just don’t have the deep pockets or the time to go see a massage therapist?

This is where we can take matters into our own hands, literally, with self massage. With the right techniques and persistence, you too can create amazing health benefits, relieve stress and reduce pain with self massage.



Things to Keep In Mind Before You Begin Self Massage

Before we delve into the wonderful world of self massage, there are a few things that you should keep in mind.

First of all, while you might experience instant relief, if you want long-lasting results, you’ll have to do it at least two times a day. Furthermore, if it’s your first time, don’t go overboard. Start with just a few minutes and then slowly increase the time interval each day.

And for best results, start off with some light stretching. It’ll help release muscle tension and prevent muscle soreness and cramping.

With these tips in mind, shall we begin?


This post contains affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Read the full (warning: it’s boring) disclosure here.


6 Self Massages You Can Do At Home to Relieve Stress and Pain


self massage Pinterest image woman standing against a wall


1. Head Massage:

Many of us work in a noisy environment for 8 hours, then sit a couple more hours in heavy traffic, surrounded by all kinds of annoying, loud sounds.

That means we spend an average, 10+ hours a day drowning in noise.

And since noise is a scientifically proven potential trigger for headaches, no wonder many of us get a headache almost every day.

But the good news is you can get rid of it with a simple 2-3-minute self massage.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Put both your thumbs behind your ears and your fingers on your temples. Depending on the intensity of your heading, you may feel the vein in your head throbbing.
  2. Now, move your finger in small circles, 5 times clockwise and 5 times counter-clockwise.
  3. Repeat this movement along your hairline for 2 minutes.
  4. You should notice the pain slowly fading. Now spread your fingers on both your hands and put them on your scalp. Continue making small circles with your fingers on your scalp for a minute, or until your headache goes away.
  5. If the headache returns, repeat the above steps to help keep the pain at bay.

And here’s a super affordable tool to help you with head self massage:



2. Back Massage:

You ever felt excruciating pain in your lower back at the end of a long day either sitting at your desk, or standing on your feet?

Well, you’re not alone.

According to statistics from the World Health Organization, up to 70% of people in industrialized countries will experience lower back pain sometime in their lives.

And it will only get worse as the world population ages.

But you can do something about it—with the help of a tennis ball.

All you have to do is put the tennis ball between your back and the wall and slowly, with controlled movements, move up and down against the wall. And the best part is you can do this anywhere…well almost.

Granted you might not be able to do it in your car, but you can do it before you go home and once more after you get home. If driving triggers lower back pain for you (as it does for many of us), this will make the drive much easier.

A massage chair or a massage chair pad is another great tool for getting soothing back massages without having to visit a massage therapist. A massage chair is a long-term investment that will keep rewarding you with relaxing massages for years to come if you take good care of it. Check out these massage chair care tips to learn more.



3. Foot Massage:

Whether it’s because of wearing heels all day long, walking, or running, by the time the sun goes down, our feet are normally killing us.

If you want to get rid of the soreness, all you need to do is take a tennis ball, put it on the ground, put one foot on top of it firmly, and slide the ball to and fro.

The best thing about it is that you can do it throughout the day too. So, if you’re sitting down for a while, kick off those heels and get rolling.

And if you really want to pamper yourself without breaking the bank, consider trying this heated foot massager: 


4. Hand Massage:

Don’t put away that tennis ball just yet, we’re going to do another self massage with it.

This time, we’re focusing on our hands.

Whether it’s typing, cooking, driving, or lifting things, we use our hands a LOT. And from time to time, they will protest in pain.

Now there are two things you can do in order to manage hand pain.

First, take a tennis ball and put it on a flat surface nearby. Then place the palm of your hand firmly on the ball and move it around in small circular motions. Before you know it, the pain will be gone.

Second, hold one hand up so that the palm is facing you. Then use the thumb of your other hand to rub, in small circular motion, the base of each finger. Repeat this at least 5 – 6 times for sustained pain relief.

The beauty about this particular hand self massage is that you can do it anywhere discretely, for example, during a meeting, and you won’t seem out of place.



5. Shoulder Massage:

There are many causes for shoulder pain—bad posture being one of the most common causes. Injuries and overuse can also cause your muscles to become tight and stiff, resulting in muscle soreness.

This is where a shoulder self massage can provide tremendous relief. It can help intercept or subdue your pain receptors and improve blood circulation to the shoulder muscles, thus preventing stiffness and pain.

Self massage also increases the temperature of your muscles, which helps loosen them, and decreases inflammation.

And that’s not all.

We know that bad posture is a problem that many people face these days since we spend a considerable part of our day staring at a computer screen. One of the most incredible applications of shoulder self massage is that it can significantly improve your shoulder’s range of motion, thus correcting your posture.

A shoulder self massage is very easy to do at home, and it can be super relaxing. 

Here’s a great video on how to do a simple shoulder self massage:




6. Neck Massage

As an adult, you have probably had to deal with a stiff, painful neck at least once or twice. Our bad postures, ongoing obsession with our phones, and stressful lifestyle all make us more susceptible to neck pain and stiffness.

A stiff neck, other than being uncomfortable and annoying, can also lead to a lot of problems. Not only can it impede blood flow, but it can also cause dizziness, headaches, as well as fatigue.

A therapeutic neck massage can help solve a lot of these problems. It can relax your muscles and improve the mobility of your neck joints. Furthermore, it will improve blood flow to your head, giving you more energy and better mental clarity.

Here’s a simple neck self-massage that combines with acupressure techniques to give you quick relief from neck tension and headaches:

First, tilt your head forward and find the soft spot just below the base of your skull on either side of your neck. Massage this area with your thumb in a circular motion for 10 seconds, then slowly move your thumb downward towards your shoulders, applying moderate pressure.

Related: Simple Acupressure Points to Help You Relieve Headaches and Neck Pain



Final Thoughts on Self Massage:

Now that you know all the basics of self-massage, why not try it yourself? Not only do you not have to go to the spa, but you don’t even have to wait to get home. You can give yourself a massage in the comfort of your office, your car, or while you wait for food at the restaurant.

Relaxing has never been easier. So what are you waiting for?

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Subscribe to The Budding Optimist Newsletter to receive more tips to help you live a heathier and happier life, plus the latest blog updates, bonus content, and more! Don't worry, I won't spam you, 1-2 emails a month at the most!

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By signing up, you're giving consent to use this information to send emails and communications as described in the site's Privacy Policy.


About Anthony:

Anthony is a passionate writer and professional masseuse. He is also a tech geek in his spare time who loves to share his insight on massage chairs. To learn more about Anthony and to learn a thing or two about massage chairs, head over to his website The Massage Chair Professor. 


Recommended Articles in Health and Self-Care:

30 Ideas to Jumpstart Your Self-Care Routine

How to Use Acupressure to Relieve Anxiety

Natural Ways to Strengthen Your Lungs (Tips From a Lung Disease Sufferer)



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