Us chiropractors aren’t a fancy lot, we don’t need a great deal to do what we do. Fingers, elbows, a bed, knowledge of anatomy. That’s about all we need to start the healing process, but what about you guys who want to do a bit of self massage? It’s impossible to dig your own elbows into the knots in your back, so what are you supposed to do? Well, I’m sure you’ll be glad to know that you already own all the tools you need to be your very own self massage therapist!
These everyday things you’ve been walking past are actually secret therapy tools, so get to using them!
I bet you’ve never looked at a doorframe and seen the hidden massage therapist in there, have you? Well, go take a closer look because they are waiting for you and they’re great for the shoulder girdle. Some of the biggest muscles in your body are your lats – your back muscles – and these can get an amazing stretch from a doorway.
This is a great stretch as the muscles it affects start down at the tailbone and run up across the back, meaning that this one stretch can impact on a large area.
Doorways are great because you can also stretch the front! If you’ve been slumped at a desk all day then you probably have tight chest muscles, here’s how to stretch them.
You can really improve this stretch by trying to squeeze your arm across your chest, your arm won’t go anywhere because there’s a doorway stopping you (unless you’re the hulk…), but holding that squeeze for 3 seconds means you’ll be able to move forward and get a deeper stretch when you relax.
Chairs have a lot of making up to do. We slouch in them, we sleep on them and they generally give us more problems than they solve, so here’s how to even the score. If doorways are great for the upper body, then chairs are great for the legs! There are lots of stretches you can do on a chair, such as….
You can also stretch your glutes on a chair too,
These are all very easy to do if you aren’t very mobile for whatever reason and make the positions easy to get into, as well as helping to even the score against chairs.
This one is the same as the chair, but it can be easier to get into these positions on a bed with it being higher up. Also, here’s an extra stretch you can do on the chair too.
Put your back foot on the bed to get a very deep stretch. Be careful with this one, use the bed to stabilise yourself with the back foot on the floor first to see how much of a stretch you need.
A rolling pin is an absolutely essential tool for anyone who wants to perform self massage and yes, you are going to treat your muscles like dough. Your thigh muscles will really benefit from this, so just straighten your legs out and get to rollin’! Go slowly and vary the pressure on yourself, some parts will be more tender than others. The sore parts need extra attention, but can’t take as much pressure, so take your time with it and go easy.
These underrated tools are some of the best out there and I have a bag of golf balls up in my bedroom for when I need a quick self massage session. These can provide a smaller, more pointed surface area than the rolling pin. Whilst the pin is great for broad, sweeping strokes, the ball gets much more specific, so if you have an area that just won’t relax, try digging the ball in instead. However, it will be painful. It shouldn’t be, so the level of discomfort you feel is directly proportional to how much you need the work doing. A tennis ball is for beginners and the golf ball is for more experienced people.
So obvious you almost forgot them, right? Don’t underestimate the power of giving yourself a good rubdown. Use your own hands and get your knuckles deep into the muscle, paying extra attention to the parts that are sore.
So there you go, that’s a great start to becoming your own self massage therapist. Some things can be hard to do or to reach on your own, such as your back, so if these tools aren’t helping you hit the spot correctly, then come and visit me or someone in your area. You can also check out my review of Kelly Starrett’s book and see about picking it up, he’s written a masterpiece on how to be your own therapist.
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