Best Way to Use Massage to Reduce Stress

One of our instinctive reactions to pain or injury is to touch the area; we rub a sore joint and stroke the hand of someone in pain. Massage is an extension of this desire to touch and be touched, utilizing a range of different strokes and techniques.

While giving yourself a massage is not as luxurious as receiving a massage from someone else, it is an effective and enjoyable relaxation technique. One benefit of self-massage is that you can feel where you want to focus most attention and feel when one-area has had enough massage. You may choose to undress for a self-massage if time and privacy permit, and make use of a good massage oil such as avocado or sweet almond oil or a blend of essential oils. If you choose not to undress, loosen or remove any tight-fitting clothing.

Use Massage Best Way to Use Massage to Reduce Stress


Do your best to ensure you will be comfortable throughout the massage. The room should be pleasantly warm but not hot; dimmed lighting or candlelight and some soft, relaxing music help create a nurturing and peaceful atmosphere. If you are undressing for the massage have plenty of towels available to drape over the parts of your body you’re not working on, otherwise you may feel the cold more as you relax. Try to ensure you won’t be disturbed. Two of the most important elements in a good self-massage are breathing and rhythm, so begin by making sure you are comfortable and take a few moments to focus on your breathing. If deep relaxation is your goal, use long, slow strokes.

Do not worry about being expert in massage techniques. What’s important is the touch of skin on skin, the time you spend on yourself, and the calm thoughts.

Massage Movements


Long, gentle strokes using both hands simultaneously or alternating.


Long, even strokes using firm pressure in one direction, and light pressure in the opposite direction (on arms and legs, firm pressure should always be used toward the heart). Keep contact with your hotly between the strokes.

Use Massage 1 Best Way to Use Massage to Reduce Stress


A rhythmic, kneading movement with one hand holding and squeezing, while the other hand releases. Particularly useful on the fleshy patts of the body.


Small, circular movements made with the pads of the thumbs or fingers. Use this movement to work on areas that feel tight.

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