Skip to content

Stress Management Health Center

Font Size

Massage Therapy for Stress Relief and Much More

Experts describe massage tips you can try on yourself to ease headaches, back pain, and to help you relax.

Massage Therapy to Loosen Tight Shoulders

You will need a tennis ball or solid rubber ball for this one. "Once I was desperate and couldn't find a ball, so I used an apple," Grust says. "It felt amazing, but the apple took a beating."

  • Stand 18 inches from the wall, with your feet hip distance apart. Go into a partial squat with your buttocks against the wall.
  • Lean forward, placing the ball behind your back at the top of your shoulder.
  • Slowly stand up -- an inch at a time -- pressing against the wall and letting the ball roll slowly down the muscles along the side of your spine, stopping when you find a tender point and waiting for the pain to subside.
  • Reverse the process, slowing sitting down into a squat, and allowing the ball to move back up to the top of your shoulder muscle.
  • Now switch sides, moving the ball to the other side of your body and repeat the same slow massage.

Not only will you be releasing the tension from your shoulders, but you will also be developing strong leg muscles at the same time.

Massage Therapy to Release the Lower Back

  • Stand up and put your hands on your waist, with your thumbs behind you and fingers facing forward.
  • Gently press your thumbs into the muscles at either side of the spine -- but be careful not to press on the spine itself.
  • Keep your thumbs pressed in while you move in a very tiny motion -- up, down, and around in a tiny circle. Spend extra time where you find a tender point - making sure not to cause pain.
  • Move your thumbs gradually, an inch at a time, up either side of the spine as far as your hands can comfortably reach. Then gradually move back down your back and press on the bony surface of the sacrum.

Today on WebMD

Hands breaking pencil in frustration
stethoscope and dollars
Woman with stressed, fatigue
fatigued woman
hand gripping green rubber ball
family counseling
stress at work
frayed rope

WebMD Special Sections