When you think of self-care what comes to mind? Perhaps it is sleep, eating well, or even exercise. If these are some of the things you thought of, you’re not wrong, but there are many other self-care methods out there that you may not have considered.
Think about it; you’re a teacher, waiter, guitarist or administrations assistant. All day long you’re using your hands or standing on your feet; by the end of the day they are either swollen or sore. Massage therapists often suffer from the same issues considering some of us massage for up to 8 hours a day.
This self-care technique is well known throughout the massage world but hasn’t exactly permeated other professions that would surely benefit from it. When your hands and wrists feel sore from typing, massaging, holding trays, lifting weights etc., try this technique to flush fresh blood into the area.
- Two small basins big enough to put your hands and wrists in
- Fill one basin with hot water between 105 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit
- Fill second basin with cold water and two handfuls of ice. Temperature should be between 55 and 65 degrees.
- Start by submerging your hands/wrists or feet in the hot water for 1 to 3 minutes; then switch to the cold water for 30 seconds to a minute. Repeat this up to three times.
Note: It is important to start with the hot water first because if you begin with cold you’ll have a harder time discerning just how hot the second basin is and there is risk of burning your hand.
Due to the short nature of these treatments the blood vessels in the area vasodilate*, sending fresh blood into the wrists and hands. This in turn helps to increase flexibility and reduces inflammation in the muscles and joints. A longer cold treatment would cause vasoconstriction which might increase your soreness, so make sure you stick to the instructed time segments.
EPSOM SALT SOAKS
One of my personal favorites, Epsom salt soaks are ideal for full body treatments. Frequently I recommend these to my clients when they don’t have time or resources for weekly massage but their condition calls for it. All you need for this self-care remedy is a bath tub and 2 cups of Epsom salts; add the salt to a warm bath and soak for 15-30 minutes. Presto! Relaxation Nation!
Before your muscles get too tense or fatigued, try a few of these stress busting yoga moves to alleviate the workday hurdles. Not only will these asanas help to reduce soreness and tension, but they might also give you that pick me up you need during the midday lull.
From left to right: Seated Cow, Seated Cat, Seated Half Moon (Stretch Right and Left), Standing Down Dog, Standing Forward Fold and Eagle Arms (Right arm under left and then switch)