Massage from family and friends
Family and friends are often eager to do something useful for you. One way you may like them to help is by giving you a simple, gentle massage. Massage sessions need not be long – a few minutes here and there or a planned half-hour can benefit you enormously.
To avoid causing you discomfort, the person massaging should:
- remove jewellery
- cut their nails
- make the same adjustments that a professional therapist would, e.g. reducing pressure or speed of stroke.
If you feel pain or discomfort, ask for gentler pressure or for a massage in a different area of the body.
Apply lotion to the feet with slow strokes using full-hand contact. Rest one foot between the hands and apply moderate pressure with the thumbs along the sole of the foot.
Head and ear massage
Sit down for this massage. Using moderate pressure, gently rotate fingertips all around the crown. Move to the top of the ears, gently tweaking them between the thumb and forefinger, down to the lobes. Work the fingers behind the ears and across the back of the skull.
Apply lotion to the back using long, slow strokes with full-hand contact. Gently squeeze muscles with moderate and controlled pressure along the length of the back. You may prefer to lie on your side rather than face down for this massage.
Acupressure is similar to acupuncture – without the needles – and it is easy to do yourself. Pressure points on the body represent different organs. Massaging these points gently may help relieve a variety of symptoms.
Focus on each point for a few minutes on both sides of the body. Pressure need not be strong; even soft touch is beneficial.
Pressure point: pericardium 6
This point is in between the ligaments (fibrous tissue) of the wrist. Measure three finger widths from the base of the palm along the wrist (about where a watch sits). Hold the point in the middle of the wrist with moderate pressure for several minutes or apply small circular strokes with firm pressure. Pressure on this point helps reduce nausea, pain, anxiety, insomnia and breathing difficulties.
This point is at the space where the ribs meet at the breastbone. Gently circling the fingers on the xiphoid process is calming for many people.
This stimulates intestinal motion and soothes the entire body. Apply lotion to the whole abdomen (tummy) in a “right-to-left” direction. Also circle the fingers around the bellybutton.
Pressure point: kidney 1
This point is in the middle of the sole of the foot. The best way to massage it is by rolling the arch of the foot over a tennis ball on the floor. Pressure on this point may improve energy, anxiety, and flu-like symptoms.
Pressure point: large intestine 4
This point is found in the muscle located between the thumb and forefinger. Pressure and massage on this point can stimulate intestinal activity, possibly easing constipation.