Self-Massage: Guided Instructions for Body & Mind

Here are the instructions to follow along for the May 2 workshop on self-massage.  Consider printing it out for future reference.

The recording of this offering is now available by clicking here.

Massage Series

Neck , Shoulders, Back                                                           

  • Stretch & Shrug: Gently nod head back and forth, up and down, side to side, letting chin drop to chest and then to neutral; shrug shoulders to ears and roll shoulders.
  • Neck cradle: Place flat of hands on either side of neck, placing fingertip at base of skull.
  • Occiput circles: Find the ridge at the base of your skull (occiput). Using fingertips, press fingertips into the ridge, make circles, work outward toward the ears.
  • Stroke neck sides: Using flat of hands, stroke down sides of neck to shoulders.
  • Knead shoulders: Place hands on shoulders (same side); using fingers and palms, squeeze and knead outwards to shoulder joint. One side at a time, place hand across onto opposite shoulder, kneading across, reaching fingertips to top of scapula.
  • Glide: Place flat of hands on same side of torso and stroke down to waist. Reach down and around lower back and use fingertips to make circles along back of pelvis.
  • Hug: Bring hands and arms across front of chest and give yourself a hug.
  • Self-massage tool: Lie supine and position tennis balls tool on either side of spine at neck. Gradually roll your body over the tennis balls, working the pressure points down along either side of the spine to reach the lower back. Pause over tender spots and allow your body to release into the tennis balls.  When done, roll to one side to release tennis balls and, when ready, use your hands to slowly push up to sitting.

T-Ball tool


  • Hold: Add a few drops of oil to hands and rub together, then hold one hand with the working hand. Take a moment to notice temperature, texture, weight.
  • Spread: With pad of thumb pressing into palm and fingertips around the top of the hand, spread open the hand.
  • Finger twirls: Using thumb and forefingers, gently massage each finger from base to tip.
  • Glide fingertips between hand bones (metacarpals) on top of hand, from knuckles to wrist.
  • Palm spread: Interlace fingers of both hands and stretch outward. Relax stretch, and keeping fingers interlaced, reach working thumb into palm, making circles. Release interlock, use fingers to support top of hand, and continue pressing thumbs into palm and base of thumb pad.
  • Knead wrist area with fingers and thumbs.
  • Glide up forearm to elbow, gently circle inside and outside of elbow, and continue gliding up upper arm to shoulder.
  • Stroke underarms (armpits).
  • Brush lightly down the arm with fingertips over the forearm and off ends of fingers.

Pause, breathe, and notice how the massaged hand feels.

Repeat series on the other hand.

When done, allow both hands to rest, take a few deep breaths.


Foot Self Massage                                                                            

  • Position your foot in your lap or in front of you; hold with both hands.
  • Place a small amount of oil on your hands.
  • Slide, with one hand on top and the other on the bottom of foot.
  • Spread, with thumbs side-by-side into sole and fingers wrapped around top.
  • Toe twists: using thumb and forefingers, gently pull and twist from base to tip. Weave fingers between toes.
  • Thumb press into entire sole of foot, working to cover the entire surface from base of the toes to the heel.
  • Ankle circles: Using fingertips and thumbs, circle around the bones. Then hold the foot with one hand and rotate the foot around the ankle.
  • Wringing: Wrap the foot with both hands and rotate back and forth around foot.
  • Tapping: Using fingertips, tap the entire bottom of foot and then lightly brush surface.

Reflexology points can be affected. See one foot reflexology chart at

Pause, breathe, and notice how the massaged foot feels.

Repeat series on the other foot.

When done, find a comfortable position, take a few deep breaths.


Integration: Abhyanga

  • Rub hands together and, one a time, use flat of hands and fingertips to brush down each arm.
  • Brush with fingertips down chest and torso. Tap fingertips on sternum (breastbone).
  • Flat hand brush down thighs and lower legs, front and back as you can reach.
  • Scalp massage with fingertips.
  • Rub hands together, place hands over eyes, allowing your head to gently rest on your palms.

Breathe.  Return your head to neutral, remove your hand, and take another dee

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