My daughter is in her last year of university and last week was a big one filled with mid-term exams and due dates for major essays. Add to that the fact the we are in the midst of planning her wedding and you can imagine how stressed she has been lately. I decided to plan a relaxing girls’ night in for the two of us – just some mother and daughter time to take some time away from all the stress and recharge!
To ensure that I was making this an evening of complete restful bliss, I wanted to be sure to think about appealing to all five senses: Sight – an Audrey Hepburn movie marathon (our FAVORITE!), Sound – the soundtrack and music from the movies, our laughter (we ALWAYS make each other laugh), Smell – Popcorn popping, Red Velvet cookies baking, the soothing smell of NIVEA lotion, Taste – Our snacks of popcorn and cookies (salty and sweet together = a delight on the tastebuds!), and Touch – I’m going to teach my daughter some self-massage techniques that she can use anytime she feels the stress building in her muscles
I headed off to Sam’s Club to buy what I needed for our night of fun and recharging. I especially wanted to stock up on some more NIVEA lotion – the perfect way to soothe our dry, Canadian winter skin during the self-massage. It has a lovely delicate fragrance too that will appeal to our sense of smell in an aromatherapy type way. I bought NIVEA lotion for the first time this past fall and it’s a product I’m sold on. My skin is sensitive and extremely dry and itchy. Prior to trying it, I hadn’t been able to find any lotions that would work for my skin but within a short time of beginning to use it, my skin was soft, supple, and healthy looking once again. You can see my full shopping trip here in my Google+ photo album.
The procedure for a self-massage is one I learned from a pain and rehab specialist following the car accident we were in. It’s simple to do but very effective.
1) I like to make sure my hands are warm before I begin. The shock of cold hands on your skin is not conducive to relaxation! I generally hold them under warm water or rub them together vigorously. I also like to warm up the lotion by placing the bottle in a bowl of warm water for a bit. While doing this, I try to calm myself to set the stage for the massage by taking several deep breaths.
2) Now, you can certainly do a full body self-massage but that takes quite some time to do thoroughly and with the permanent injury in my hands, it actually becomes tiring and I start to lose the soothing benefits of it. So, I tend to pick a couple of spots where I hold a lot of tension and focus on those: in my feet/lower legs and my hands/lower arms. Remember to use the NIVEA lotion! Begin by placing your thumbs on top of your foot, gently wrapping your fingers around to the sole of your foot. Start at the tips of your toes and work your way up to your ankle, applying a firm touch with your fingers and thumbs. The strokes should be long, slow, smooth movements. Repeat this about 6-8 times per foot. Now place your thumbs on the ball of your and wrap your fingers around to the top of your foot. Slowly “thumb walk” gently but firmly from your toes to your heel and back again 6-8 times per foot by repeatedly pressing and moving your thumbs.
3) Next, move your hands up to your calves. Place your thumbs near the top of your Achilles tendon. Use that same “thumb walk” procedure to move up to your knee and back down down again. Follow up by kneading your calves with both hands – place your hands on your calves and gently try to squeeze your fingers and thumbs towards each other. You can stop here and move on to your hands or repeat this same procedure with your thighs.
3) For your hands, begin by rubbing one hand with the other in long gentle strokes. Don’t forget to reapply NIVEA to your hands as needed throughout the self massage. Now, place your index finger and thumb of one hand on either side of that really fleshy part of your other hand, right at the base of your thumb. Press gently in a circular motion. Repeat this same motion on each one of your fingers and your thumb moving from the base to the tip of each.
4) Using the same “thumb walk” and kneading process you did on your calves (and thighs), massage your lower arms to your elbows. If desired, you can continue with this onto your upper arms to the shoulders as well.
5) Finish off by crossing your arms in front of yourself as if to give yourself a hug and touch your shoulders. Using your thumbs and index fingers, knead your trapezius muscle (the one that runs along the top of your back) for about 15-30 seconds. You may find it easiest to do one side at a time. Now, place your fingertips on each side of your neck (towards the back) and gently press and massage in a circular motion for 15-30 seconds.
I find this self massage procedure to be one that’s very helpful – even if only done in part – at any time when you feel stress building in your muscles. I take short breaks when working at my computer to soothe my muscles with some massage as well as when stopping at a rest stop during a long road trip, during my work on long detailed art pieces, or when practising music on my keyboard. I think this will be a perfect tool for my daughter to use when taking breaks from studying and in the future, when she’s a teacher in her own classroom!
The great thing about self massage using the NIVEA lotion is that you are not only soothing your aching muscles by releasing the tension held there but you are also nourishing your skin at the same time. Through one small act you’re helping to keep heart emotionally healthy and your skin and muscles physically healthy. I call that a win-win!
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“I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community. This content has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and Beiersdorf for NIVEA. #NIVEAMoments #CBias #SocialFabric” All opinions and ideas are my own.