The benefits of a quick, self-administered home massage session cannot be overstated. The amount of stress that can be placed on our muscles by doing even the most seemingly innocuous day-to-day activities is surprising. Even those who work out regularly at the gym are still prone to feeling the effects of the type of prolonged sitting associated with an office-based role. However conscious you are about maintaining a good posture, there is always the tendency to hunch over a laptop or desktop if you’re concentrating on putting together an important email or addressing colleagues on a video call.
In a perfect world we’d all be booking regular sessions with a professional massage therapist to alleviate those painful knots and aches. The reality, however, is that most of us have neither the time or money for such luxuries. Home massage is certainly the next best thing, so let us take you through some of the benefits of using the kind of accessible and inconspicuous exercise equipment which will help ease those annoying twinges.
Muscle knots are hard, sensitive areas of muscle that tighten and contract, resulting in stiffness and aches, which can be particularly painful amongst the core stability muscles in the lumbar (lower back) region and both the neck and shoulders. If you’re experiencing even mild discomfort or pain, a home massage could be a convenient and easy way to help ease your symptoms. Swifty’s collection of home fitness equipment will enable you to tackle this without having to resort to performing a series of elaborate exercise routines.
The massage peanut – which is essentially a double massage ball - allows you to roll across a wider range of muscle, helping to zero in on those specific trigger points which helps to alleviate muscle knots and reduce the pain associated with them. It’s perfect for releasing muscle tension and tending to those hard-to-reach areas hit the hardest from a day spent sitting upright.
The peanut also works well on the gluteal – another area that needs some attention after a day chained to the office chair – and this is achieved by simply lowering yourself onto the peanut, then placing both hands behind you for support and bending both legs. Gently roll your hips back and forth to shift the peanut around the glutes searching for trigger points.
The modest massage ball - which works in a similar fashion to the peanut - is incredibly versatile when performing a home massage, offering effective relief starting from the neck and upper back, right down to the soles of your feet. Something as simple as slipping off a shoe and massaging the bottom of a foot can offer the perfect remedy to a tough workday. The massage ball is a subtle and unobtrusive means of helping to reduce soreness and fatigue, so why not even give it a try as you settle down to watch TV in the evening?
While seated, all you need to do is step on the ball with your foot and roll back and forth from heel to toe with a little pressure. If anywhere feels particularly painful or tender, try and work those knots out by rolling in small circles. If you feel you need to apply a little more pressure, simply give these exercises a try standing up rather than being seated.
There are a variety of different types of massage balls on the market, ranging from those with spikes, to ones which are very smooth and firm, through to the small and soft squash ball-like sized. The Swifty Massage Ball is made from solid natural cork and has natural anti-microbial qualities, meaning it won’t pull on the skin and feels warm to touch.
The roller is another versatile piece of kit which helps relieve muscle tightness, soreness and inflammation and can be incorporated into both yoga and Pilates routines. You can work the muscles as a whole, but the shape of the roller also allows you to easily work the same area and roll back and forth over certain trigger points. Due to their size, rollers can target larger muscle groups in areas in the thighs, hamstrings, glutes and lats.
Again, the roller is incredibly simple to use as a piece of home exercise equipment. Firstly, lay down face up with your feet shoulder-width apart and flat on the floor. Then all you need to do is place the roller on your mid-back - preferably beneath your shoulder blades so it's perpendicular to your body - then slowly move your body toward and away from your feet. If you move down to your glutes, all you’ll need to do is ensure that you support your body weight using your arms and the opposite leg to the one you’re using to manipulate the roller itself.
All these are easy to achieve from the comfort of your home, and while the roller ideally requires a little more time and physical space around you to achieve the necessary effective massages, both the peanut and ball can be used discreetly in the workplace. Having the ability to reduce muscle soreness and aches during work can lead to more focus and mental clarity, not to mention boosting productivity towards the end of the day as that inevitable fatigue sets in.
We need to be continually mindful that our bodies are not taking on board any prolonged physical ailments due to the rigours of everyday life. However, regular use of all the above for home massage purposes doesn’t mean you have to suddenly adapt a rigorous training mindset which needs to be adhered to like clockwork. It should be about scheduling in a little time during the evening – or indeed, throughout the day - to ensure that you’re taking care to address and relieve the typical bodily aches and pains that are commonplace in our day-to-day working lives.