After we warm up the face, we start particular work on the forehead first. We’ll do a series of lines across the forehead vertically and horizontally to try to relax those vertical worry lines that start to become permanent if you’ve got too much stress in your life. So, erase those lines on your partner with this technique smooth and relax the forehead.
You might need a little bit of lotion on your hands if your partner’s skin tends to be dry, but for most people, you won’t need the additional lotion. So, unless you want to start from the beginning (12 Days of Facial Massage – Opening) you can see the new pieces for the forehead here:
Ready to put a little lotion on your partner’s face? We’re finally going to get to the good stuff, although if you want to repeat the scalp part, you can go back to this one: 12 Days of Facial Massage – Scalp!
Now we’re going to do some general work all along the face, put a little lotion on for the rest of the work, and use a slow pace to continue to relax your partner on the table. To see the video, just watch below:
I just found out that November is TMJ Awareness month, and I wanted to share a couple of massage resources I have with you. Temperomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ) is a condition in which the TMJ joint (the joint that’s the hinge of your jaw) becomes inflamed. The inflammation, which can be acute or chronic, leads to pain and loss of function in the jaw, mouth, ears and neck. Sometimes, clients report difficulty chewing, or opening their mouth wide. They can also feel pain or fullness in the ears. Clicking and popping sounds from the joint itself can also indicate TMJ symptoms. Migraines, headaches, dizziness and tinnitus can also be a associated with TMJ disorder.
Another technique that can also help is lymphatic drainage of the ears. This video can show you how to perform lymphatic drainage on yourself so you can reduce fluid around and in the ears.
And if you can talk your spouse, partner or friend into it, you can add this one to the list:
So, take some time to watch the videos if you or a loved one has issues with TMJ syndrome. Using self-massage gives you a tool to give yourself immediate relief from the pain, and it also gives you another tool to use in your management and treatment of the symptoms.
Swelling in the arm is a common symptom for breast cancer survivors who have had lymph nodes removed from the arm pit/breast area as part of their treatment. However, there is an easy way to use self-massage to help pull some of that fluid out of the arm and back into the torso. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, I wanted to share this information with breast cancer survivors.
This self-massage video will help with fluid retention in the arm, forearm or hand, whether it’s from an injury, surgery or pregnancy. If you’ve had surgical removal of lymph nodes, please contact your surgeon or physician to see if self lymphatic massage is an option for you. If you’re experiencing extreme edema, consult a certified Lymphatic Drainage Massage Therapist before using this routine on yourself.
Below the link to the video is a link to a list of contraindications for Lymphatic Drainage Massage. Please review them before using this on yourself.
I’m a big proponent of fascial massage. Fascia is the connective tissue that surrounds our muscles, our organs, our bones, our arteries and veins: pretty much everything. I usually describe it as a Saran Wrap that holds things in place and directs force through the body. It’s incredibly helpful to release fascial restrictions and adhesions from injuries.
But, it can be a challenge to do fascial work on yourself. Many types of fascial work involve holding onto the soft tissue/connective tissue/muscle and moving other tissue in a different direction to create a pull or stretch of the fascia. How exactly do you hold part of your soft tissue still while moving it yourself? Enter the sacrum fascial stretch self-massage.
The sacrum, the triangular bone at the center of the pelvis, sits at the base of the spine. Because of its shape and position, it is responsible translating the vertical effects of gravity from the legs to the torso, and it’s also part of the support structure that keeps you upright and mobile. The sacrum meets the two wings (illium) of the pelvis and connects to the tailbone (coccyx). Since the sacrum has so much to do with balance and movement between the upper and lower half of the body, it’s often a part of the body with restrictions and adhesions leading to lower back problems.
In this case, to stretch the fascial tissue connecting in to the sacrum, we’ll press the sacrum up against the wall and use the pressure of the body to hold the tissue in place while we lean forward, (or to the side or diagonally – whichever feels best) and pull the tissue with a slight forward bend. The details follow in the video below. One thing I didn’t mention in the video is that if you’re having a hard time “tacking” the fascia on the sacrum down so you can get a good stretch, get a small section of rug gripper and put it between you and the wall. That will keep your clothes from sliding so much and give you the friction you need to perform the fascial stretch.
If you’re a massage therapist who enjoys fascial work with your clients, this fascial stretch of the sacrum can be a life-saver for clients suffering from lower back pain and limited range of motion. Plus, it just feels good. Please share!
Ever wanted to get a massage while you were in a meeting? You’re in luck. If you can stand near the door during the meeting, you can give yourself a massage and no one in the room is any wiser. Unless you start drooling.
Here’s the scenario: you work all day at an office, and by the time you come home your shoulders are sore, your neck is tense and your lower back is cranky. A few minutes of self-massage during the day can affect the way you feel at the end of the day. I’m designating this another “Look Ma, no hands” technique since it does not require any use of your arms or hands. All you need is a door frame.
You can adjust this technique to work almost any part of the body readily available and easy to move with lateral shifting of the torso. It works best for large muscles and muscles groups rather than on fine muscles, such as those in the foot and hand. You can also try this against cabinet corners or appliances, but make sure what you’re pressing against is soundly fastened to the wall. When using this, you’ll be using your legs to press back against the door frame/cabinet/etc and it’d be best if you and the item didn’t go flying across the room.
Please note you should never work directly on bone. This means you should not work directly on the spine or on sacrum when you perform this technique. Instead, focus on areas of the body where muscle covers bone and you’ll be able to press the muscle against the interior skeleton to massage from the inside out.
As always consult your physician before starting any self-massage routines. And be careful with the pressure you use, you don’t want to go so deep you can’t move for a day. Start out a little lighter and work up to the deeper work after a short duration at the lighter depths.
For as common as it is, pain is still a mystery to scientists and researchers, let alone the rest of us. One of the hardest concepts to explain is that pain is not a specific message that gets sent from the body to the brain via nerves. Rather, the brain interprets the sensory data coming in from the body as pain. In this way, dealing with chronic pain is about more than just healing the body.
Often, as I work with clients dealing with chronic pain, it feels like we’re chasing something that’s one step ahead. When the body suffers from chronic pain, it’s as if the filter in the brain that catches sensory input and data from the world becomes too sensitive, and in a way overreacts to the input. That doesn’t mean that the pain doesn’t exist, and it doesn’t mean that the pain is in the brain. It means that pain is much more complex than we ever imagined.
Recovering from chronic pain – pain that’s lasted 6 months or more – can be a long, complicated process. We’re just now beginning to understand that chronic pain is affected by mental health, diet, and exercise in addition to many other factors. Pain centers across the country often recruit doctors and specialists in many different fields in order to treat chronic pain and help the nervous system retrain itself back to a normal sensitivity level.
This video gives a wonderful and accessible explanation of pain and its interconnection to the body and the mind. If you deal with chronic pain, or know someone who does, please share this blog post with them. I know from personal experience chronic pain makes you feel helpless and out of control. But this video gives me an excellent resource to share with clients dealing with chronic pain and it helps me remember what it takes to stay well, too.
Photo credit: Flickr.com CCL – User Alex E Proimos
When I walk in crowds, or people watch at a concert, I inevitably find myself watching the way people move and what their bodies look like. In summer, when it’s hot and everyone wears shorts or skirts, I notice swelling in the legs/ankles and foot. This time of year, in the heat, many people have swollen ankles and feet, especially.
Swelling and edema in the legs can be incredibly uncomfortable and I’ve had a lot of requests for a lymphatic drainage routine for the legs. I’ve put together a video that demonstrates how to work on the legs, but there’s an important piece of information you’ll need to understand. In order to move fluid in the body, you must make space for that fluid further up the line. Because the lymphatic system is a dynamic fluid system, you need to open up areas close to the drains so that fluid can siphon up higher in the system toward the main drains. For legs, that means you must get movement in the neck and throughout the abdomen.
So, to perform this drainage technique on yourself, you’ll need to work on the neck first, then the lymphatic breathing, then abdomen/torso, and finally this leg routine. If you have severe edema, lipodema, or long-standing swelling issues from an unknown cause, you’ll want to work with your physician before trying this on yourself. Keep in mind that you will be using extremely light pressure, and very slow movements. This is light massage, but can make powerful changes throughout the body.
There are important contraindications to lymphatic drainage massage:
As with all lymphatic drainage massage, there are contraindications. While it is a light form of massage, it is very powerful and can have a broad effect on the body. Note that if you are pregnant, you can safely perform the lymphatic breathing routine, but should not perform the routine in the second abdominal video where there is manipulation of and pressing down on the abdomen.
While it doesn’t feel invasive or deep, LDM can have a profound effect on the body because of its function within the immune system and its use of the circulatory system. If you have any of these conditions or problems, consult your physician before performing this on yourself:
Fever, acute infection, early onset inlammatory disease. You need to wait until the acute phase is over and the fever is broken.
Circulatory system problems, especially thrombosis. If there is any risk of embolism of phlebitis, do not use LDM and see your physician immediately
Cardiac issues such as heart disease, acute angina pectoris or coronary thrombosis (heart attack). Using LDM increases the fluid load on the heart, and compromised cardiac systems should not be subjected to LDM.
Active bleeding, internal or external.
Active malignant cancers, undiagnosed lumps, or tumors whose origins have not been determined by your physician.
High risk pregnancy or late term pregnancy with complications
Contraindications specific to the abdominal and leg routine are abdominal aneurism or thrombosis/phlebitis.
All you basketball players, tennis players, runners, cyclists, and skaters had better bookmark this one. I’ve put together a quick self-massage routine for the lower leg that’s great for all kinds of athletes, and also people who are on their feet all day. Teachers, nurses, (ahem) massage therapists, doctors and anyone standing for long portions of the day will love how this makes your legs feet. And, if you’re in heels all day, or have to wear heels on a concrete floor (ouch), this can do wonders for your tired and aching feet and legs.
There is a critical contraindication: Do not use these techniques if you have DVT (deep vein thrombosis, blood clot) or have been diagnosed with vericose veins.
As always, check out the other videos on my site if you’d like to learn some self massage or couples massage tips. Anyone looking for a Louisville massage can book at my website: MassageByHeather.com
The unfortunate thing about self-massage is that you have to use your hands and fingers to work on yourself. When the problem area is your forearms or hands, it can be tricky to figure out a way to relieve the tension in the area without further compromising your hands and arms. But I recently started working on my own forearms in a way that minimizes the use of the hands and fingers and still feels fabulous.
I call it the “Look Ma, No Hands” Massage. I’ve been doing a lot of painting and home improvement projects lately, and use this technique to relieve pain and discomfort from the forearms. This is great for pain/tension/soreness from gardening, weeding, home improvement, painting – anything that requires fine motor movements of the hands. Because the primary muscles that move the hands and fingers reside in the forearm, work on the forearm is the easiest way to relieve pressure.
So take a peek at my latest YouTube video here and try it out. All you need is a flat surface and you can perform this technique on yourself.
And if you still need more massage after working on yourself, come see me in Louisville for massage!
Louisville massage therapist Heather Wibbels, LMT has been showing clients how massage helps since 2003. Her Saint Matthews massage therapy practice is centered around chronic pain, stress-relief and injury work.
This blog is Heather's way to reach a wider world than those she can lay hands on, and self-massage and partner massage videos are a large part of that. View her YouTube Channel at MassageByHeatherW: