Home Care Between Massage Therapy Treatments
Throughout my experience as an RMT I can tell you that regular maintenance massage and home care go “hand in hand”. My patients and I have come up with some easily accessible household items that have helped them between treatments. I have to thank them for their feedback and tips with the various experiences.
Holding a broom handle about shoulder-width apart and rolling it along your leg muscles can help give you leverage that’ll allow you to dig in to your muscles a bit deeper than you’d be able to with your hands alone.
To use: Roll the handle over your leg muscles (quads, hamstrings and IT bands) and you’ll likely identify trigger points and/or sore spots. Similar to the way you’d hold pressure if you were using a foam roller, focus on those “hot spots” by gently rubbing and kneading.
Tip: make sure not to apply too much pressure that the broom handle snaps or bends. If the broom handle is made of wood make sure it is smooth and free from any splinters.
My personal favorite is the lacrosse ball. They’re great because they are small enough to work at the most common areas that have “knots” or trigger points. Also easy to maneuver hands free for traps, shoulders, glutes etc.
To use: Place the ball on the floor and place the problematic part of the body on top of the ball and roll out much the same way you would with a foam roller. You can also place the ball on a wall and lean into it with your back, shoulders, chest, glutes etc.
Tip: If you desire a different pressure try using a a different kind of ball. Tennis ball for less pressure or golf ball for more pressure. Also I’ve had patients tell me the lacrosse ball on a softer surface, bed for example, helps modify the pressure.
3. Frozen water bottle
Do you experience foot pain from standing up in the morning? After standing at work for long periods time? Are you a runner? Have plantar fasciitis? Significant other stingy with the foot rubs? This is an easy and convenient way to help reduce pain as well as inflammation in the bottom (plantar surface) of the foot.
To use: Place the frozen bottle on the floor and roll the foot back and forth over the bottle, focusing on the tender spots.
Tip: If you find the bottle too cold place a sock over the bottle. Try not to exceed 15 mins at a time or to the point where you experience numbness and/or can no longer gauge temperature.
4. Rolling pin or paint roller (without paint!)
A kitchen rolling pin can be a wonderful way to “roll” out sore quads and IT bands or if you require less pressure or have limited mobility a paint roller is a great way to help with self-maintenance at home.
To use: Holding the rolling pin handles, gently apply pressure as you roll up and down each leg, (preferably pressure towards the heart) focusing on areas that feel particularly tight or sore. Depending on your flexibility, you might even be able to hold it behind you and massage your low back, hamstrings or glutes.
Please be aware of the difference between discomfort and extreme pain. If bruising occurs please discontinue.
-Nicole Flemming, RMT, ActiveLife
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