With everything thing on a working woman’s schedule, it’s no wonder that our bodies start to feel the effects of stress, lack of sleep, and over commitment to everyone else’s life but our own. And, with bills and other time commitments, sometimes booking a massage at a spa or in-house is not an option. So, we reached out to celebrity masseuse, Dr. Dot, whose magical hands have worked on everyone from Seal to Bon Jovi. Here are her tips for easing tension using pressure points, for the days when you need a quick refresher.
1) The Head/Scalp:
Place your palms on your temples and at the same time, rest your fingers on your head, then slowly massage in a firm circular motion a few times clockwise and then counterclockwise, while simultaneously using finger tips to massage and loosen scalp with enough pressure to move the skin over the underlying bone. Continue on covering your whole head. Don’t be afraid to dig in, keeping your hand in a rake position but avoid using fingernails at all costs. Gently grasp handfuls of your hair and tug it outwards, as if you were pulling the stress out of your head. Hold the hair for a few seconds and release. Repeat this motion all over scalp, time permitting. This technique will lower your blood pressure, relax your whole head and elevate your mood.
2) The Neck: Massaging your neck every chance you can get will help relieve tension, increase blood flow to the brain and elevate your mood.
An easy trick is to simply lay your head back on the headrest of your chair. This will relieve your neck of bearing some weight (average head weighs between 5 and 10 pounds which is a lot for your neck to carry around), and in turn making it easier to knead the neck muscles.
Place all of your fingertips vertically at the base of your skull, and firmly press into the muscles along each side of your Cervical Spine aka upper spine. Then slowly run your fingers down your neck while rubbing back and forth, covering all areas between the base of your skull and the top of your shoulders. Then with your left hand on your right elbow and right hand resting on left shoulder, push right elbow up while using right hand to “rake” muscles between left shoulder blade and spine (Traps/Rhomboids) and back over the shoulder in one slow, strong movement. Repeat using opposing side (right hand on left elbow to push left hand over shoulder to rake muscles on right side).
3) The Ear(s): An ear massage relieves headaches and helps you stay focused and calm.
Squeeze and pull your ears with your thumb and forefinger, as firmly as possible without pain; “ironing” out the folds of your ears with your fingertips. Fold your ears forward and hold for a few seconds, then release. Then place a palm over each ear, and use your hands to move your ears up and down in a circular motion, easing pressure on the upward movement. This cupping movement should sound like the ocean and is very relaxing. Take your point finger and middle finger, open them like a big V and go along both sides of your ears and slowly but firmly go up and down a few times. This technique is fast and easy to do and calms you immediately.
4) The Face/Jaw:
One hand should hold your head sturdy and with the opposite hand, place your fingertips at the top of your jaw and firmly “rake” downwards until you reach the bottom and repeat 5 times. Then take knuckles and rub in a circular motion slowing inching your way South. Repeat 5 times. Do both sides. This will relax your jaw. Many people grind their teeth when they are stressed and his can cause headaches and fatigue.
Take pointer finger and middle finger tightly together and make firm figure 8’s around each temple simultaneously 5 times. Then take Pointer finger and thumb and squeeze eyebrows tightly going from inner eye to outer eye, repeat 5 times. Take all finger tips and Rake forehead North to South 5 times. Then do the same from the middle outwards, 5 times. This technique would be best after a hectic day or midday on your break at work.
5) The Hands/Arms:
Gently tug on each arm before rubbing them down, stroke firmly up each arm with your hands cupped, and as always, go deep on the muscle but light on the bones. Then go to the hands. Stretching the fingers feels wonderful, gently tug on them and do circular pressures around each joint with your thumb. Use firm pressure at the base of the thumb, this can be compared to the arch in your foot, pressure feels great here.
6) The Feet:
Work your thumbs on the underside (called the “plantar” side) use deep slow pressure with the tips of your thumbs – don’t do it too gently or it’s going to feel a bit ticklish. Work the balls of your feet and in between toes. Also, pull on each toe for about 10 seconds – don’t jerk, just give a smooth, strong tug.
For more tips from Dr. Dot, check her website drdot.com