Mumbai Coronavirus: Miss the masseuse? Learn the art of self-compression
In the absence of physical visits to spas and physiotherapy centres, three experts share ways to alleviate common aches
During these unprecedented times, we've started to adapt our habits according to our new routine brought about by working from home, exercising indoors, and taking up household chores in the absence of help. While for many of us, this may give us a sense of purpose, we are prone to sore muscles, minor injuries or an overall ache.
Dr Harshada Rajadhyaksha, Sushmita Sarangi, and Tamara Zweck
And, since we're still unable to visit our favourite spas or trusted physiotherapists to help relax our muscles, here are tips for an at-home massage in the interim.
An essential massage
"As a general practice, one must take some time in a day to recharge and rewire oneself. And, even more so now," says Sushmita Sarangi, general manager, Jiva and niu&nau, Indian Hotels Company. "Indulging in a self-massage will nourish and replenish your skin, tone your muscles, calm the nervous system, and detox and renew your cells and organs." For any form of massage, she recommends using either cold-pressed sesame oil or virgin coconut oil.
For a foot massage
1 Prepare a hot tub or large bucket of water (around 38-40°C) and soak your feet in it for 10 minutes.
2 After the soak, rub a few drops of oil on the soles of your feet (a simple katori can be rubbed in circular motions).
3 Continue to apply oil on the ankles, calf muscles, and knees in broad, firm circular strokes.
For a head massage
1 Pour a few drops of lukewarm oil on the crown of your head and tap gently.
2 Move fingers across your forehead and towards your scalp in circular motions.
3 Continue the same motion on the sides of your head, the temples, and the nape of the neck.
4 Gently tug around your ears to boost circulation.
5 End the massage by squeezing your neck and shoulder muscle to relieve the nervous system.
Pain of being homebound
"Be mindful that we are existing in smaller spaces than we're used to. This requires a different action of our muscles, so it's okay to feel some new stresses and strains because of this new load or expectation on the body," says Tamara Zweck, director, sports and manual physiotherapist, 206 Optimal Movement.
Reflexology for a hip strain
1 Hold your left foot on your lap. Use your fingers or thumb to find the sensitive area on the inside edge of your foot between the heel and top point of your arch of your foot.
2 Once you find a sensitive point, push on it (it doesn't have to be as hard as the physio or massage therapist pushes) and hold for 20 seconds, then release and push again.
3 Continue for 5-10 minutes, identifying other sensitive points as well.
For all muscle strains
1 A basic hot water bottle, wrapped in a thin towel or pillow case, is also a great way to alleviate muscle strain. Apply on the strained area for 5-10 minutes at a time.
Post a home workout
"Exercise is essential for the preservation and safety of our physical and mental health," says Dr Harshada Rajadhyaksha, founder, Prakruti Sports Science and Physiotherapy Clinic. "When working out by yourself at home, be realistic in assessing your present fitness level. Exercise needs to challenge you beyond your comfort zone to be effective, but the level, intensity or time spent in exercise has to be such that the body can benefit and recover from it easily. See that the intensity stays just mildly outside your comfort zone—you don't want to step outside to get treated for an injury right now," she advises.
For knee problem
A common problem is anterior knee pain, caused by sitting for too long in one position or excessively climbing stairs, squatting, lunging or sweeping the house.
1 Press and massage the muscles around the knee cap to mobilise it.
2 Rub ice around the cap, stretching the hamstrings, calves and quadriceps to alleviate the pain.
For neck aches
People who are working at home all day on their computers develop trapezius tightness and spasms. This is aggravated by the mental stress related to other challenges of life.
1 Press on the painful trigger points on the trapezius till the pain eases.
2 Gently roll the area in a circular manner, and apply pressure along the length of the muscle.
3 Knead the muscle between the thumb and fingers, squeezing it at regular intervals.
4 Add a trapezius stretch several times a day, and apply a hot or cold compress after.
For elbow pain
A tennis elbow is caused by overusing the wrist extensor muscles, which you'll feel every time you make a fist or hold an object. Many are suffering from this right now due to additional housework, washing vessels, and using the keyboard.
1 Lightly press your thumb down on the point that is painful, and gently circle it around.
2 Release and repeat four-five times, and rub ice on it two-three times a day.
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