Sometimes the only thing you need after a tough workout is a juicy, delicious massage. But we get it – paying for a 90-minute deep tissue treatment ain’t cheap, and you’re not exactly in the position to shell out all that cash. The good news is, you don’t need to! POPSUGAR spoke to Michelle Ebbin, touch therapy expert for the in-home massage app Soothe (use the code POPSUGAR for $ 20 off your first session!), who insists you can treat yourself to a relaxing massage without a masseuse.
“There are so many benefits of massage, but the main benefit of self-massage is learning how your own body handles stress and being able to relieve that stress with effective techniques to relax your muscles, detox waste materials (such as lactic acid), and soothe your entire nervous system so you can function better physically, mentally and emotionally,” she told us. “It’s essential when you’re working out to know when your muscles are fatigued and may need a boost in circulation, which comes from massage.”
She shared four self-massages that target different parts of the body. These are perfect for when you come home from the gym feeling sore but accomplished. You’ll need a tennis ball and a foam roller.
For a Sore Booty
“Sit on the floor with one leg bent and the other leg extended in front of you. Place a tennis ball under your butt on the side with the straight leg,” Michele instructed. “Keeping both hands on the floor to help your body move on the ball, allow your body weight to relax onto the ball. Use your bent leg to slowly move your body back and forth, and side-to-side, over the ball.”
The slower you go, the more you’ll get out of this massage. Michelle says you should pause on the tender spots until you feel them release. Repeat the same thing on the other side.
For Sore Calf Muscles
You’ll need a foam roller for this one. Start on the floor with one leg bent and the other extended in front of you. “Place the foam roller under your calf (perpendicular to the leg) and let the weight of your leg relax over it. Keep your hands on the floor, slightly behind your back, and slowly inch your body backwards so that the roller glides all the way down your calf to your ankle,” she said. “Then slowly inch your body forward so that the roller glides up the leg to your knee.”
Keep repeating this several times in different directions to relax the calves, and then switch legs. “You could also do this with a tennis ball, but it’s harder to control a ball than a longer roller or pipe.”
For Sore Hamstrings
Start in the same position as the last two massages, with one leg bent and the other extended in front of you. “Place the roller under your leg (perpendicular to the leg), just above the knee, and let your body weight relax over it. With hands on the floor to support you, slowly inch yourself forward so the roller glides all the way up the hamstring, then slowly inch in the other direction,” Michelle told POPSUGAR. Repeat several times, then switch legs.
Although you can do this with both legs on the roller at the same time, Michelle recommends you do one at a time. “You can better control the pressure on your leg by leaning from side to side.”
For Sore Shoulders and Back
“Lie on the floor (knees bent, feet on the floor) and place a tennis ball under the area that is tense. Allow your body weight to relax over the ball for a few seconds, then move your body so that the ball massages that area,” she said. “You can also use the roller by placing it under your back, near your lower back, and slowly inch your body so that the roller rolls all the way up your spine to your neck, and back down.”
If you want to get into your shoulders, “turn the roller so that it is a parallel to the spine and place it between shoulder blade and spine.” From there, move your body “so the roller rolls over the shoulder area, NOT over the spine.” Open your arm out on the floor and fold it over your chest as you roll back and forth slowly. “This is my favorite stress reliever!”