Self-massage; a Practical Guide
Posted: Jun 12 2020
In our last blog post we explored the advantages of massage for the dancer. But what if you don’t have the time or cash to go for a professional massage? And can you benefit from doing your own self-massage anyway?
The answer is yes. Self-massage is a vitally important element of maintaining your soft-tissue health. So, below you’ll find some useful info and a practical guide for dancers.
When should I self-massage?
This is a personal choice, but the ideal timing would be to self-massage AFTER the main activity or exercise of your day. This is because your muscles will be heavily manipulated during your massage, and they will need some time to recover. After class is great as long as you’re going home after, or maybe even before bed.
With self-massage, if you’re incorporating it into your cool-down routine after class the best pattern would be;
- Gentle stretching
- Stretch again (longer and deeper)
The advantage here is that you will get some instant feedback as you will hopefully see the difference in your flexibility between before and after your massage. Your muscles will respond more favourably and be more relaxed during your stretching having had a massage, due to the increased blood flow.
Am I likely to injure myself?
According to Becky Byers, who is training as a soft Tissue Massage Therapist at the London School of Soft Tissue Therapy, answer is NO. She explains that, as you’re massaging yourself, you will be able to feel your own pain and you are very unlikely to push far enough past it to do any damage. However, if you have an injury or are concerned then we encourage you to visit a professional Massage Therapist to get a professional opinion and guidance.
What do I need?
- Somewhere to sit with your legs in front of you – either on the floor (on a mat if available) or on a chair with your leg propped-up on another chair.
- Your hands!
- A ball – either a spiky ball, tennis ball, or (if you’re feeling brave) a golf ball.
- A foam roller – or as a handy alternative your water-bottle will do fine
- Massage oil - or olive oil will do fine!
A practical guide
During this lock-down period we were lucky enough to have an online interview with Becky Byers. (You can read more about Becky in our previous blog post!) She very kindly agreed to demonstrate and explain some self-massage techniques that you can use at home or after class, which we've shared for you below in a series of short videos. (Please excuse the video quality as it was created via online video link!)
Becky suggests that you use a massage oil or olive oil to help your hands glide more easily over your skin. You can also massage over the top of your clothing if it is tight-fitting, such as leggings or tights. So, please watch these practical guides, and let us know how it works out for you.
Hamstrings & Quads
Neck & Shouders
Using a foam roller or alternative
We hope you enjoyed these practical guides! Get in contact using the comments below or email us at hello@boysdancetooUK.com