Using Massage to Improve Sleep

February 5, 2020
Self-Care Journal
September 9, 2019
Stress and Chinese medicine
February 6, 2020

It’s helpful to know that massage can help improve your sleep, but it can be hard to put this into practice. Here are some ideas. At least one should work for you.

Get Some Massages

Get on the phone and give us a call or go online. However, note that it doesn’t say “Get a Massage.” That’s because most of the studies that have been done use more than one massage. While one massage likely would be beneficial, the truth is that your body has some long patterns of not sleeping well. It may take regular massages for quite a while to get you sleeping well again. You can even add on acupuncture before or immediately at the end of your treatment to ramp up the benefits.

There are several different types of massage to choose from. Swedish massage is the most popular in the western world. It is gentle and involves using techniques like long strokes, kneading, and circular motions to help your body relax. Deep tissue massage is a bit rougher and utilizes techniques to get down into layers of muscles that might not otherwise benefit. Trigger point massage focuses on releasing muscles on specific sore spots. The upside to all of this is that you will feel more relaxed and sleep better. However, getting regular massages can be expensive so joining the membership or purchasing a series can help you afford this self-care.

Self-Massage

If you can’t make it out to a massage therapist a few times a week, there are some massage techniques you can do at home until you can reserve a treatment to see us.

Foot reflexology.The bottom of the foot has up to 15,000 nerve endings, and massaging these has been shown to improve health all over the body. While different parts of the foot seem to be connected to particular parts of the body, massaging the bottom of the foot as a whole also can help with relaxation.

  • Start your foot massage by squeezing or pushing your foot in a way that feels good to you. You can even roll the bottom of your foot with a lacrosse ball or a golf ball if that feels good. Spend some extra time pushing on your foot right below the ball of your big toe. Push and hold this for 5-10 seconds at a time.
  • Spend some extra time rubbing the outside of your big toe, which can stimulate melatonin production. Rubbing the ridge of your toes can help relax your neck and shoulders; pressure on the ball of your foot can relax your breathing. Overall, spend 5-10 minutes massaging each foot before bedtime.

Head massage. It can be hard to massage certain parts of your own body, but you should be able to rub your head. Your head has some acupressure points that can be helpful for sleep.

  • Start by rubbing the middle of the top of your head. If you drew two lines up your skull from the top of both ears, this point is right where they would meet. Push straight down about 100 times or rub around in 100 circles here.
  • Move to the points where your eyebrows end near your nose. Again, you can apply direct pressure here or move your fingers in tiny circular motions. Try to push at least 30 times or make 30 circles.
  • Finally, rub along your eyebrows and just under your eyes. Use longer, sweeping motions here, rubbing the whole eyebrow in one movement. Try to do both eyes at the same time, at least 20 times.

Face massage. If you carry stress in your muscles, you may carry more of it in your face than you had thought. Rubbing your face can release this tension, helping you rest better.

  • You can begin this massage wherever your face feels tight. Start with the large muscles at the back of your jaw. Press gently into them and make small circles with your fingers. Explore these muscles for hidden tension, massaging them out as you can.
  • Move to your temples. Don’t put too much pressure here, but explore for places that are tender and make gentle circles on top of them. As the pressure releases, you can press harder.
  • End by massaging your forehead. You can go straight up and down from the bridge of your nose, or follow the pattern of your eyebrows in bigger and bigger arcs until you have covered your whole forehead.

Use whatever specific technique of self-massage helps you the most. Learn them all, as some may help some days and others on other days. Before long, you should be getting more sleep.

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