Share Pin Email
feature image
Live Fit

6 Often-Ignored Body Parts That Benefit from Massage

Typical spa treatments might target your shoulders and neck muscles, but other areas need attention, too.

63
Author Image
Contributing Writer
SHARE:

When you think massage, the same muscles usually come to mind: the back, the shoulders, the neck; for athletes, the legs. It makes sense. These areas are tension hotspots — and locations where many of us hold our stress. But they’re not the only areas harboring tightness. Here, top experts share which body parts are craving release — plus, how to massage these oft-ignored muscles yourself.

Your Diaphragm

“The average person at rest takes around 23,040 breaths per day,” says Matt Delaney, C.S.C.S., a licensed massage therapist and Tier X Health Coach at Equinox Columbus Circle. “Our diaphragm initiates every single one of them.” That’s not all that this dome-shaped muscle at your ribs does: Along with other core muscles, it helps stabilize your trunk, which is key for efficient, pain-free movement, says Delaney. When there’s dysfunction? You’re susceptible to injury and pain.

Massage it: Sit in a chair and curl the tips of your fingers under your rib cage, says Delaney. Take a deep breath into your belly and on the exhale, flex forward trying to bring your head to your lap; allow your fingers to move further under your ribs. Make sure to exhale fully — this allows the diaphragm to reach its end range under the contact of your fingers. Repeat three to five times.

Your Gut

Many scientists consider the gut the second brain, says Scott Weiss, C.S.C.S., a New York-based physical therapist. That’s because more and more research suggests that a healthy gut (filled with beneficial bacteria) creates a healthy body (and mind). “A mechanical massage aids in moving digestion along,” Weiss says. It also eases muscle tension and relieves air and gas from the system, he says.

Massage it: With firm pressure, make circles to the left on the stomach’s surface. “This circular pattern mimics the normal digestive movements,” says Weiss. Then place one palm on your upper abdomen and overlap it with your other hand (consider this 12 o’clock). Start pressing inward, applying pressure in a clockwise fashion. Slowly go from 12 to 3 to 6 to 9 and back again, he says. This can be done 20 to 30 times with strong, firm pressure.

Your Face and Jaw

Whether you realize it or not, you hold a lot of tension in your face and jaw. Emotions, thoughts, and an internal dialogue can lead you to clench your jaw and facial muscles, says Weiss. “Eating, speaking, and reacting all day can stress these muscles, too.” Yet, most massages leave these stressed out muscles alone.

Massage them: Use the palms of your hands and and pads of the fingertips to apply pressure to the face, forehead, and jaw. Clench you jaw a few times. You’ll find the muscles that need work. Apply pressure where needed. Make your way around the ears, too.


RELATED: 6 Self-Massage Tools to Restore Your Body at Home


Your Thumbs

There are three muscles that sit at the base of your thumb — they make up what’s called the thenar eminence, explains Delaney. And these muscles take a beating all day long as you text and scroll, impacting your grip strength and fine motor control, he says. “It may not sound like a big deal, but grip strength is vital to our longevity,” says Delaney. So much so, in fact, that it’s one of the measurements cardiologists use to predict the outcomes of surgical patients.

Massage them: Start with your thumb flexed into your palm with your palm facing down. With the pointer and middle finger of the other hand, reach under the middle of the palm just below the thenar muscles and draw some tension toward the thumb knuckle. Maintain this tension as you slowly move the thumb away from the palm and allow your fingers to glide up toward its base. Repeat 3 to 5 times per hand.

Your Wrists

In a world of tablets and laptops, your hands and wrist muscles are used more than any other major body part, says Weiss. The best news: Maladies like carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis can be kept at bay with some simple massage, he says.

Massage them: Clasp your hands together and make figure eights. Use the prayer position to open and stretch the wrists. Push your fingers to the left and right while together to further stretch the deeper muscles of the wrist, he says.

Your Feet

Most of us take our feet for granted until problems crop up. Here’s why that needs to change: “They are the most dynamic part of our structure,” says Delaney. “Our feet are our first point of contact with the ground and are constantly providing the brain valuable information about where we are.” Plus, a sedentary lifestyle can leave them craving stimulation and too-tight shoes can constrict them, impeding blood flow.

Massage them: Place a golf ball under your foot at the base of the heel, says Delaney. Sitting or standing, trace a line from the front of your heel to each one of the toes and back. Be sure to work across the foot, too, paying special attention to trace the cup of the heel and ball of the foot, he says. Repeat three to five times per foot.

By

SHARE:

Comments (0)

A 3-Day Clean Eating Meal Plan

Reset your diet to feel healthy and energized with Sonima’s free six-page guide designed to keep you satisfied as you cut back on calories, sugar, and processed foods!

Get the Guide

Load More

Find us on Instagram

@LIVESONIMA
  • #mlk #mlkday #quotes #happiness #behappy
  • Who doesn't love a quiz? Take our personality test to better understand the desires, fears, and tendencies that affect your relationships and personal growth. See link in bio. #personalitytypes #enneagram #quiz #knowyourself #liveauthentically
  • Most people know the benefits of meditation include enhanced focus, concentration, and heightened self awareness. But there are two lesser-known ways that meditation can help you work smarter.

One is an improved relationship with time. When the mind is more present and focused, you have an enhanced understanding and comprehension of a given topic or task. When that becomes a regular part of your working style, it profoundly impacts your ability to learn and work at a high level.

Secondly, your self-esteem improves. Meditation improves your priorities deep down inside, in turn making you more productive. It gives you this feeling of “Yes, I’m a good human", and that lifts your self-esteem up. Confidence comes from the satisfaction in giving or doing something for others. The more you do for others, the better your relationships will be, professional and otherwise.

How does meditation help you work smarter? 
#meditation #meditate #mindfulness #work
  • Happy New Year! 
All of us at Sonima are wishing you the most wonderful year. 🎊 
Let’s make 2020 a year filled with great compassion, awareness, and health through our practices of yoga, meditation, fitness and conscious eating. 🙏🏽💖
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
#newyear2020 #newyear2020🎉 #firstdayoftheyear #firstdayoftheyear2020 #healthandwellness #lifeisbeautiful #choosehappiness #attitudequotes #attitudeofgratitude #yogalifestyle #yogaliving #positivenergy #positivelifestyle #positivemindpositivelife
#mindfulliving #livewell #livefree #livefit #sonima #livesonima #healthylivingrevolution #healthierchoices  #balancedlife #createbalance #createhealthyhabits #mindbodysoul #wednesdaywisdom #liveyourbestlife
  • It’s the last day of the year! ✨
Take some time to reflect and use this 10-minute guided meditation to help you generate a commitment for the year ahead. 
This meditation shows you how to live according to your deepest desires and create an intention, not from the mind’s force, judgment, or expectation, but rather from the depths of your own heart. ✨

Click on our bio link to listen and experience a deeper vision of your future! 🔮
.
.
.
.
.
.
#newyear2020 #newyearseve #newyearsresolution 
#newyeargoals #tuesdaymotivation #meditationchallenge #selflessservice #mindfulnessquotes 
#yogalifestyle #yogaliving #positivenergy #positivelifestyle #positivemindpositivelife
#mindfulliving #livewell #livefree #livefit #sonima #livesonima #healthylivingrevolution #healthierchoices  #balancedlife #createbalance #createhealthyhabits #brainhealth #mindbodyconnection #introspection #meditatedaily #meditationinspiration #lastdayoftheyear
  • Taco lettuce wraps are the perfect way to lighten up taco night! 
This delicious recipe is vegan and “no-cook”, so it’s ready in minutes. 
These taco lettuce wraps are also loaded with fiber and antioxidants. They are great to help with detoxification and resetting your diet after the rich and indulgent holidays! 🌮 
Find all the ingredients with the full recipe in our Clean-Eating column, with best-selling cookbook author, culinary nutritionist, and wellness expert Amie Valpone @amievalpone - Simply click on our bio link! 🔗
.
.
.
.
.
.

#mondaymotivation 
#veganrecipes #vegantacos #lettucewraps #lettucetacos #amievalpone #cleaneatingrecipe #cleandiet #detoxdiet #eatingclean #thehealthyapple #resetyourbody #antiinflammatorydiet #flightinflammationwithfood #eatingcleanrecipes #vegetarianrecipes #veganfoodlovers #veganfood #vegetarianmeals #healthyrecipes #mindfulliving #livewell #livefree #livefit #sonima #livesonima #healthylivingrevolution #balancediet #mindbodyconnection #mondayinspiration
Receive fresh content delivered to your inbox every week!