Have you ever sat at your desk or in traffic with a headache that pounds your brain into submission? Maybe your go-to behavior for relief was rubbing your temples or forehead - which is giving yourself a massage. This action becomes second nature at times of discomfort or stress because as humans who feel 24/7, we can be acutely aware of muscle pain.
Why Do Self-Massage?
Aside from the obvious (having stress relief at your own fingertips) - performing self-massage can be extremely beneficial. Aside from the convenience and its FREE, what do you have to lose? You're already next level if you have used any tools such as a foam roller or tennis ball.
To incorporate this into your self-care routine you can also experience a better range of motion and improved flexibility. Having both of these can optimize your everyday performance whether or not you’re an athlete - as flexibility can also prevent muscle tension in the long run.
A Massage Anywhere You Can Try
Without any extra tools on deck, your hands will do just fine. A shoulder and neck massage can be done anywhere, using your fingers and feeling out for any knots or parts that are more firm than others. Long strokes or small circular motions work well here.  Find a knot? Keep reading!
Trigger Point Massage
A lot of people (including myself) tend to hold a lot of tension in the neck and shoulder area. Personally, I can tell when a knot has formed and it’s almost impossible to ignore. The Cleveland Clinic provides useful information on trigger point massage for the knots in your neck. Per chiropractor Chad Adams, “Muscle knots are those kinks in your back and the tight, ropy strands in your neck. Also known as trigger points, they are areas where your muscles have tensed up and refused to let go.” 
The steps for a trigger point massage anywhere include:
- Find the knot (trigger point)
- Press strongly using your fingers into the knot
- A tool such as massage balls or foam rollers may also be used
- Continue for three to five minutes - up to five or six times daily
For a trigger point massage, the amount of pressure you use is entirely up to you. Dr. Adams states that while discomfort may be normal, sharp pain is not. After consistently using trigger point massage in your routine, the overall goal should be pain relief and looser muscles. Our post about a trigger point chart can help you do a deeper dive into the location of your knots and harness the power of trigger point massage anywhere.
Lacrosse Ball Massage
If you have a lacrosse (or tennis) ball, they’re quite easy to find and purchase. You can take advantage of doing a lacrosse ball massage anywhere - you just need the ball, and a wall or floor. This type of massage is great for trigger points on the back, glutes, hips, and feet. Take some time to review the steps on how to do a lacrosse ball massage.
Most people who spend a lot of time on their feet would agree that if your feet are tired, your whole body feels it! If you have yet to experience rolling a ball under your feet while sitting down, try it out and feel the benefits from circulation and improved pain relief.
A ball massage is more helpful than a foam roller because of the depth it would be able to reach within your muscles. Additionally, because you’d be using your own weight to control the amount of applied pressure, you won’t have to work as hard compared to if you were using your hands or fingers!
A foam roller can also be effective at releasing tight muscles. While they come in different sizes, the ones with stubs or grooves may be helpful depending on the muscle you’re looking to roll. Bigger muscles such as your glutes, the TFL (Tensor Fasciae Latae), or back may see good release from a foam roller. We also have a post about how to foam roll your TFL. These hip-flexor muscles can accumulate a great deal of tension - spending much time on your feet or sitting can put you at risk for discomfort in this area.
Massage guns have been used by physical therapists and chiropractors to provide the benefits of deep muscle tissue massage for people with muscle tension. They have been growing in popularity among athletes since they can facilitate recovery possibly helping with performance and gains in the long run. There are many types available on the market, so make sure to do proper research before diving into a purchase.
Another alternative to the massage ball, foam roller, and your own hands is the QL Claw. It’s meant to imitate a therapist’s elbow, allowing it to reach deeper into muscles. It is, however, meant for muscles such as the Quadratus Lumborum (QL), the Psoas, the Gluteus Maximus, and the Piriformis to name a few.
With the QL Claw, you can release your tight muscles on your own without compromising on portability and affordability! All you would need is a flat surface and the space to put yourself into position. Here is an awesome tutorial on QL muscle release using the QL Claw.
The Benefits of Massage
Massage is a therapeutic and non-invasive intervention often considered to be within the nontraditional, holistic category. While medical providers and insurance companies are recognizing the benefits, studies are also ongoing regarding its growing list of benefits. A plethora of conditions from arthritis to prenatal depression and hypertension to multiple sclerosis have seen positive influence from massage. 
Getting down to the nitty-gritty, (self-care) massage can benefit us in numerous ways including (but not limited to):
- Reducing anxiety and stress
- Improves circulation
- Pain relief
- Improving the quality of sleep
- Increasing energy
- Improving state of mind and focus 
If any or all of these things can be attainable from a massage anywhere, why not give it a shot?
My Experience with Self-Massage Anywhere
I have found that knowing trigger points and some methods of pressure application has helped save me trips to the massage therapist and from the inconvenience of neck, shoulder, and head pain. My neck and shoulders are where I feel tense when I get stressed and I’m prone to headaches if I’m dehydrated.
These can be common problems, so I have found that drinking electrolytes (or at least water) along with applying pressure to my shoulder knots can alleviate my stiffness. This routine works wonders for me even if I’m sitting in the car with nowhere else to go. Stay hydrated, stretch, and apply some pressure!
Maybe you can vaguely recall getting your forehead or feet rubbed so that you could achieve that state of relaxation. Whether you have used a portable machine or mini-tool or went to a therapist, most of us know about the awesome benefits of massage - can you have too much of it?
The cool thing about learning about massage for your own benefit is that there are moves you can do on your own - meaning it's free and you can do massage anywhere! If you’re sitting in that traffic or waiting room, why not take advantage? Instead of staring at your phone, death scrolling - grant yourself access to a moment of stress-relief, after all… you deserve it.
How to Massage Anywhere: Conclusion
Whether or not you are athletically inclined, knowing how to do a massage anywhere can save you wasted time that can be used for active recovery and save you money from seeing a professional. This is not to say that a chiropractor or massage therapist is obsolete. If you have a nagging pain that won’t go away (especially if it’s sharp pain) or your muscle pain is from injury, more massage is not the answer.
If you also want to level up your massage game, try combining special tools we have available such as the QL Claw and the CBD Skin Salve. With 750mg CBD strength along with Arnica, you’ll be able to target your pain with the anti-inflammatory effects in a localized, penetrating, rapid-acting way. If you’re like me, you value products that are not only local but also as natural as possible. It is also worth mentioning that it’s organic and uses essential oil, which would benefit your skin as well! That is a true win-win situation. So try a self-massage anywhere (with or without the skin salve) - and your body will thank you!
 Field, T. Massage therapy research review. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, 2016.
 The importance of self care massage: how it benefits mind and body. Hawaii Natural Therapy, bestoahumassage.com/the-importance-of-self-care-massage-how-it-benefits-mind-and-body/ Knots in your neck? how to try a trigger point massage to release them. Cleveland Clinic, health.clevelandclinic.org/knots-in-your-neck-how-to-try-a-trigger-point-massage-to-release-them/