Most of us don’t have the means to receive bodywork as much as we’d like or need to. Whether it be more sound sleep, decreased anxiety, increased blood flow, flush of toxins, more agility through lengthened muscles, or touch healing – the benefits are endless! Setting aside some time in the week for your own personal pampering is an act of self love. We can experience much greater heights in our lives when we feed of this art.
However, I feel the greatest benefit to bodywork is pushing through energetic blockages in the body, which then allows energy to flow through us more swiftly, enabling us to be a circuit of constantly renewed energy and an inviting channel for The Higher Self.
This week, I’m going to share a few cheap and simple goodies with you so you can experience some yummy pampering at home. Most of us aren’t fully aware of how much tension we have built up in our bodies, but once someone or something touches the area of tension…we cringe with awareness.
Becoming aware of your body is yet another way to become aware of your inner landscape (I look at it as a more “physical” type of shadow work).
With these crafty remedies, you can discover your tensions first person and be present with yourself in the release of your trigger points (knots) – giving yourself credit for all of it. It is empowering and a perfect way to embody bliss.
1. Exercise and stretching
Trigger points have been known to show up through overuse or underuse of muscles, but there is always a weakness within the system which made it possible for the imbalance to appear in the first place. Whatever the weakness may be, exercise such as walking or running is a fantastic way to get the bodies energy moving and changing. It raises the body’s vibration. It aids in excreting blockages and toxins that are built up and harbored in muscles.
Stretching is heaven. It calms, prepares, awakens, elongates, and rejuvenates muscles. Stretching IS release. Both exercise and stretching are healing art forms in and of themselves. Feed of them!
2. Tennis or Reflexology balls
Tennis or reflexology balls are wonderful tools for massage or trigger point release. Tennis balls are easier to access, but reflexology balls are usually made of a better material for our goal and have little protuberances for better grip. You can start by rolling around on them, using the weight of your own body. When you’ve found a tender spot – stay on it – breathe deep into the muscle and give it permission to let go. Once the pain has mostly subside, you can let it be and move on. Don’t overwork a trigger point, it can fester and become worse.
I especially love to roll around on a single tennis ball on my back, hip, and gluteal muscles. Some also like to put two tennis balls inside of a tube sock and tie a knot at the end, like so:
You can then lay yourself down on the sock, with the tennis balls sufficiently spaced on each side of your spine (DO NOT press anything directing on your spine, ever) and make gentle rocking movements.
A lot of people love sitting a while with the paired tennis balls wedged at the base of their occipital ridge, it’s a huge release for mental and emotional stress.
3. Bouncy balls
When was that last time you thought of these? Perhaps the last time you visited an arcade vending machine…in the early 90’s. Bouncy balls can be used just like the tennis balls, if you desire – but it seems that most people use them for their feet. However, remember that no matter which method you are using; the smaller the ball, the more fine and acute pressure you will experience on any given point. Pin the ball to the ground with your foot and roll it around. Find the spots that hurt-so-good!
If you haven’t heard of reflexology; it is an alternative healing modality that claims the feet to be a map of the entire body and you can press certain points that correspond with that part of the body for healing purposes.
Here is a simple chart for you:
Some charts vary drastically and some are much more detailed than others. Find a reflexology book or search online for the chart that your body says “yes” to.
4. Rolling pins or foam rollers
Dig through your cupboards for the old fashioned rolling pin and strip your tight muscles into a supple dough! This works best for the IT band, quadriceps and hamstrings.
You can also buy a foam roller that is designed for this type of thing, like you see in this picture below. The only difference between this and a rolling pin is you are using your whole body to maneuver the weight distribution, not just your arm strength.
5. Scalp massagers
Scalp massage is by far my favorite to receive. It’s so relaxing and pampering. I’m convinced that if we all got a daily scalp massage, we’d be an immensely less stressed species. There are some extremely cheap scalp massagers on the market that all look similar to this:
This tool gives you just as much of a tickle as it does a massage. It stimulates the scalp, relaxes the mind, and rejuvenates your senses. And if you don’t feel like doing it on yourself, it’s as simple as pie for someone else to assist you. I love this lil’ guy!
6. Body Back Buddy
Although I don’t have one, I’ve played with one, and know that it’s a seriously good tool to invest in. This isn’t the only version of this tool, so find the one for you. I’ll let you do the watching.
7. Self massage
Self massage can be a very meditative experience. I enjoy self massage on my scalp and abdomen the very most. If all of these make-shift methods fail, remember the greatest healer of all – you. Everyone has been given the sense and gift of touch. The touch of your hands can be very healing if done with a relaxed, tender, and loving intent.
Disclaimer: These are simply feel-good, at-home ideas for pampering and alternative healing, for those who want some extra attention. They should not be used as a substitute for any severe medical conditions and should always be performed carefully, with common sense and caution.
EmBody Bliss is a bi-weekly column written by intuitive massage therapist, Kierstie Leavitt.