The Quickest Ways To Eliminate Tension

There’s a reason massages cost you an arm and a leg. Massages don’t just feel great, they also help with things like circulation, immunity, aging and they can reduce stress-causing hormones, according to Real Simple.

A 2012 study also found that just 10 minutes of a massage can reduce inflammation and help your body recover from a tough workout and can help you get better sleep, according to the Huffington Post. Given all of these great benefits, it’s no wonder that the quickest way to eliminate tension and stress from your body is to give yourself a little massage.

Here are a few quick tips for how to massage different parts of your body so that you can wake up or walk away a little bit happier.

Neck Tension

To massage your neck, Real Simple suggests sitting comfortably in a chair. Then, using your right hand on top of your head, slowly stretch your neck by guiding your right ear toward your right shoulder. Do the stretch on your left side.

Next, place your right fingertips at the base of your skull on muscle to the right of your spine. If you need extra leverage and stability, you can hold your right elbow with your left hand.

Applying firm pressure, pull your fingers from your head to your shoulder. Repeat several times and then switch sides. (I tried this one and it is simply fabulous.)

neck photo
Photo by Aidan Jones

Shoulder Tension

To loosen tension in your chicken wing-like scapulas at the top of your back, grab a tennis ball and stand with your back about six inches from a wall, according to Real Simple.

Then, use your left hand to place the ball in the crook of your right scapula, somewhere near the bottom left of it. Pinning the ball between your back and the wall, lower yourself into a low but comfortable squatting position. While leaning against the ball, stand up. Repeat this several times, and sway left and right to dig deeper into the muscles between your spine and scapula. Switch to the right side, and repeat.

shoulders photo
Photo by Meredith Leigh Collins

Back & Spine Tension

If you have a lot of tension along your spine, then grab two tennis balls and a long sock. Place one tennis ball all the way in the bottom of the sock, and the other inside the sock and about three inches away from the first ball.

Tie a knot in the sock near this ball. Lie on the floor and place the two balls on either side of your spine, so that they’re putting pressure on the muscles surrounding your spine.

First, just lie on top of the balls and let gravity do the work. Slowly move the balls down your back to massage different places along your spine. If you feel too much direct pressure on your muscles, then move the balls out further slightly, so that the pressure on your muscles is less direct and intense.

back stretch photo
Photo by Musespeak

Foot Tension

To relax your poor feet (they carry you 24/7!) sit in a chair or on the bed and cross your right foot over your left thigh, according to Real Simple. Hold the front of your right ankle with your right hand, and then pinch the back of your ankle with your left thumb and forefinger and pull down toward your heel. This will help relax your Achilles tendon, which can get tight from wearing high heels, running or dancing often.

To massage your foot, use the knuckles of your left hand to massage your heel, your arch, and the balls of your feet. Then, grab the sides of your foot with one or both hands and almost fold it in a hot dog-bun motion, massaging the middle of your foot as you do this. Finally, fill the spaces between your toes with your fingers and rotate your ankles. Repeat on your left foot.

feet photo
Photo by bark

Hand Tension

Start by squeezing the web between your thumb and index finger on your right hand with the same fingers on your left hand, making gentle, circular motions, according to Real Simple.

Next, make a fist with your left hand and run your knuckles from the bottom of your palm to the base of your fingers. Then, using your thumb and forefinger of your left hand, pinch and massage your right index finger, starting at the base and working your way up. Repeat on all of your fingers, when switch hands.

hands photo
Photo by nate steiner