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Massage Self-Care Tips

Updated: May 5, 2021

After most of my massage sessions, my clients ask me questions like, "Is there anything that I can do at home to help maintain the progress made in today's massage or prolong until my next visit?" Sometimes I will 'assign' self-care homework for them to do as needed.

Muscle cramps, aches, and pains pop up when an emergency massage session might not be practical. Most of the self-care tools listed below are likely lying or stashed around your home. We also a few other items we personally use and recommend them to our clients. These are a few of my tips and suggestions on how to put them to work for you.

For general foot pain and even plantar fasciitis, you can use a frozen water bottle to roll and grind into those aching areas. I like the thinner plastic bottles best personally. I keep various sized bouncy balls and a golf ball stored in a Tupperware container in the freezer. These are perfect for use in more specific areas like the balls of the feet and heels, ready to use whenever needed.

For shoulder, neck, back, pec, and just about any other kind of pains, spasms, knots you might have, a tennis ball with or without a tube sock can bring fantastic relief. The benefit of the tube sock is the more convenient placement of the ball and the less likely you will have to chase it down if dropped. You can use this by leaning into a wall, placing the ball on the tight spot, and hold until you feel the tissue release. Don't forget to breathe deeply through this. Work the entire area that is bothering you. Here's another blog about dealing with chronic neck pain.

Another option to follow up with is using a cross-fiber friction motion; this is a fancy way of putting tolerable pressure by leaning into the ball and vigorously rubbing back and forth, side-to-side, and whatever other directions you can get in there to help break up the tissue adhesions. All of this can be mimicked by lying on the floor instead of using the wall. However, it will most likely be more intense.

Probably my most favorite tidbit to share with clients is to hide a tennis ball under their pillows.

Seriously, it may sound strange, but from my own experience and several practicing clients, this has been a game-changer. If you tend to experience muscle cramps and pain when lying in bed, please try this. I and others have used this trick for low back, shoulders, neck right at the suboccipital region; that space right where the spine goes up into the skull. Similar to using the wall or floor, use your mattress. Just allow the tennis ball to rest in place while relaxing your weight down onto it.

Lastly, get involved and active in your body's self-care regimen. Take care of yourself. Use any combination of the ideas I have suggested and discover what works best for you. Check out what you have in your home that you can put to good use for yourself, or talk to your massage therapists for other recommendations for self-care items. We love helping you prolong the effects of your bodywork! Little routines like this can make all the difference in your day-to-day quality of life.

Plain and simple, I love my job! From my employer and fellow staff members at Bull City Soles to the clients I get to work with. There is never a dull moment; I am continually learning new techniques and variations of skills. I am so grateful that I have found my dream job doing Ashiatsu Barefoot Massage. I get to help people in a physical way that brings about more self-awareness in their bodies, encouraging them to become active in their self-care regimen and recognize alternative approaches to chronic and acute pains. Having a positive impact on my clients' quality of life is fulfilling and rewarding to me. I feel so fortuitous for the opportunities I am given as a massage therapist.


Bull City Soles is a massage and bodywork studio located in Durham, NC. Our specialty is barefoot massage but meeting individual needs is our priority. Call 919-477-9887 or use our convenient online scheduling to book a massage or Rolfing® appointment. Never been to our studio? Read our blog, 'Your first massage session at Bull City Soles.' Follow us on our Instagram or Facebook page to get last-minute appointment availability, self-care tips, and other information.


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