I’m a big fan of back massage. I learned how to give them growing up, practicing on each of my four brothers…although they rarely returned the favor.
Massaging is my favorite way of easing the tension of a day’s work, or the pain of a day’s play. I usually need little excuse to indulge in one. However there are times when it’s difficult, at best, to get a back massage…and times when your pain may call for a little more than that. Then what do you do?
Here are a few ways I’ve found to get beyond the pain:
1) Liniment – this was the good ole standby of a time gone bye. I haven’t been able to find the good stuff for more than a decade. So, if you come up on some, let me know. The stuff I used to use was a burnt orange color, strong smelling but not foul or unpleasant and definitely would stain clothes. It warmed deep into the tissues and alleviated pain. You had to be careful of how much you put on because it could burn. This stuff was great during track season though.
There is an old Asian balm called dit da jow which was supposed to be able to take out the pain of sprains and bruises. I’m still looking for a store I can just walk up and buy some from someone who has actually used them.
2) Infrared Percussive Massager – I love mine because it uses heat, has 2 big heads with adjustable distances between the head. It does offer variable speeds and programs but I find the low setting with heat to be my favorite. The version I have is no longer made. So I had better not break mine anytime soon.
3) Hitachi Magic Wand – this is one of my absolute favorite massagers. I use it all over. It has a big, soft, ball like head and its low speed has a kneading-like pulsing action that sore, tired muscle don’t find overwhelming. I love it on the soles of my feet and palms of my hand. It’s also great for the back of the neck, head and face.
Be forewarned…this massager has a reputation as an erotic device. So, when you shop for one, most will offer additional attachments…for, er…I’ll let you figure that out.
3) Home Medics Shiatsu Quad Roller Massaging Cushion with heat – well, someone at my office told me about this last fall and said that I could try it at the local Walgreens, which just happened to be next door. When I went to try it out, the demo had been destroyed, so I initially bought mine base on her word. The initial one I bought just vibrated and I wasn’t impressed.
Then I saw one on the Home Shopping Channel that had a kneading action and purchased it. That one I love. I can sit at my desk, in my computer chair, and set it to move up and down my spine, or knead up and down my spine. I can also use it in a focused way (spot massage) on either my upper or lower back. It’s completely passive.
Needless to say, I gave the other one away. This one’s here to stay.
4) The Magnassagger Pro – this massager came as a surprise to me – I still don’t recall how I found it. It is a deep tissue, magnetic massager. It uses 3 steel balls that move in a circular fashion. You get a very different result than from a percussive massager. And the magnets are strong enough to coax away pain. I use it on my knee, on places that are swelling or in a lot of pain, like my ankles. The 3 steel balls glide effortless and work even when applying strong pressure. You can warm up the balls in water, but expect that the heat will dissipate in 5 minutes.
I’ll definitely keep this around and never loan it out. It won’t come back!
5) Dead Sea Salt Soak – there are times that no matter what I do, my body wants relief from a full mineral bath soak. So, I use unscented salts from The Dead Sea. These salts are known worldwide for their healing properties. They detoxify the body and feed the largest organ in your body – your skin. I usually get them in bulk from Salt Works or, if I’m on the road, I buy the Masada brand.
Again, I highly encourage using only unscented dead sea salts. You’ll feel exactly what they are doing for you. And you’ll want to do it frequently.
6) Invest in a ThermoSpa – yes, I know this is a step up from just a ‘lil ole massage but if you want the ultimate in on demand therapy for an achin’ bod, this is it! I’ve long since earmarked one for my new home. These spas have the jet pressure that made Jacuzzi famous. And each jet is adjustable. One of my friends bought one after I recommended it to her and she just loves what it does for her arthritis and joint pain. She got to write a good part of it off on her taxes too. It’s like having a masseuse on call 24/7…only wetter!
Well, I’m off to get my back massaged. In just a few moments, I’ll be feeling as good as the woman in the picture.
Wouldn’t you like to feel that good, too?