Home Care Tips Between MassagesJun 01, 2020 09:00AM ● By Julie Peterson
The time between massages can leave one wanting for a personal, in-home massage therapist. Especially now, many people are looking for ways to find comfort and relief from stressed bodies as the time between massages has likely been drawn out due to the need to stay at home or businesses being closed. Here is advice from some of our local experts on how to keep muscles loose and pain free.
Good fuel is important. It’s becoming more and more evident that a lifestyle filled with healthy foods and ample hydration is the best preventative measure for many ailments. Since muscles literally cover every bone on the body, and joints connect all the bones under all those muscles, it stands to reason that nutrition and hydration are going to affect how smoothly and painlessly the body can move.
“You don’t typically need a perfect diet with rigorous exercise. Simple things like eating more clean foods and less processed foods will go a long way,” says Chad Taylor, LMT, at Massages With Purpose, in Melbourne.
Foods containing magnesium are particularly good at soothing sore muscles and aching joints. It’s good to note that some foods can increase inflammatory markers and cause pain in muscles and joints. Refined carbohydrates, such as sugar and white flour, are a good example. Fast food and processed food are often to blame as well. And as tempting as a glass of wine might be to help relax and unwind, alcohol dehydrates cells, which can cause sore muscles or even muscle cramps. If the body is already hurting, a big glass of water or herbal tea would be a better drink.
Some people feel that they must go all out and exercise rigorously or it doesn’t help. But any movement that gets the blood pumping, such as walking, hiking, and even general yardwork, can burn calories, loosen muscles and build muscles. Taylor also recommends bodyweight exercises, such as pushups, planks and squats, which require no equipment, improve strength and can easily be done at home.
To really target stiff, sore muscles, yoga may be the best. “Yoga will break down fascia, increase range of motion and improve the fluid flow within your body,” says Taylor.
Acupressure can be used regularly as a method of self-massage to relax the muscles, increase circulation and balance vital energy.
“Facial acupressure can be incorporated into natural beauty treatments and it involves points on the face and ear,” says Judy Porter, LMT, at Studio in Motion,in Vero Beach. Porter points out that acupressure can also be helpful to reduce inflammation caused by arthritis and allergies, balance the body and relieve pain. “When performing acupressure, apply pressure with a gradual increase in the firmness and a slow release of the pressure until the fingers have been removed from the points. You may use sustained still pressure or rotating pressure. Stay on each point up to 30 seconds,” says Porter.
Foam rollers and tennis balls are great tools that can assist in lengthening muscle tissue and releasing sore muscles, much the same as a massage does. Foam rollers are available at sporting goods stores or online.
“You can lie on these dense foam cylinders and roll them along different muscles groups using your body weight. They can really steamroll the tension out of tight or sore muscles. Similarly, you can use a tennis ball to pinpoint more specific or smaller areas,” says Danielle Dempsey, LMT, in Palm Bay and Melbourne.
Don’t overlook a good night’s sleep or the occasional nap. When the body is overtired, it tenses up. Stress hormones increase without adequate rest and this can cause muscle pain or increase sensitivity to pain, as well.
Overall, finding a self-care routine that works will improve health and vitality. “Keep it simple, so that your self-care is manageable and fun: Enjoy a 10-minute morning stretch to wake up your body and mind, 10 minutes for dry brushing to increase lymphatic and blood flow, 30 minutes of daily enjoyable exercise, find a quiet place to meditate, take a warm Epsom salt bath to detox and nourish, then apply your favorite muscle cream for a good night’s sleep,” says Ginger Taylor, LMT and owner, at Massages With Purpose. in Melbourne.
To connect with the massage therapists mentioned in this article, click on the business name.