Self-Care Tools

Here are some products I frequently recommend to those who come to me for massage and bodywork. They can help with pain, posture, feeling better, and self-care. I have used every one of these items myself and love them. Feel better now!

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Adissage Athletic Sandal. $24. These sandals are the bomb for getting a foot massage with each step. Tiny nubs do the job, providing you with easy-on, easy-off treats for the feet. Whole sizes only, and sizing may run large (if you wear 7.5, order 7). Wear them around the house, when running errands, after a workout, after being on your feet all day. Some reviewers say they relieved their foot pain and plantar fasciitis.

Arnica. $6-12, depending on type and amount. Arnica montana is a European herb that relieves muscle pain, stiffness, and swelling and prevents bruiScreen Shot 2016-06-20 at 1.40.35 PMses. You can get it as a cream or gel to apply directly on sore muscles and bruises. It is unobtrusive, with very little smell, and it absorbs quickly.

Arnica pellets come in a tube and are handy for when you’re sore all over. You can take it before you do strenuous work to prevent or lessen muscle pain.

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 9.39.45 AMArnica is sold in health-oriented grocery stores and in compounding pharmacies. I’ve never seen an ad for it, so I imagine most people learn about arnica via word of mouth. It’s great for athletes, gardeners, people who do heavy labor, hikers — anyone who gets sore muscles. I recommend keeping one or both kinds on hand for when you really need it.

Locally you can buy arnica at People’s Pharmacy, Whole Foods, Central Market, Wheatsville Food Coop, and where homeopathic remedies are sold.

Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 12.49.31 PMCranioCradle. $35. Place it under your head, neck, shoulders, back, or sacrum, or use two of them at once under head and sacrum — position to induce relaxation and provide profound renewal for body and spirit. Takes only 2-5 minutes to relieve you of neck, back, hip, or leg pain or discomfort. Here’s a video showing ways you can use it.

Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 1.51.39 PMEpsom salt. $30-60 for bulk purchase. Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate. I recommend soaking in it for muscle soreness and for stress. Put two cups into a tub of hot water and soak for 12-20 minutes. Add your favorite essential oils if you like — lavender is relaxing. Or add 1 cup epsom salt to a gallon of water to soak sore, tired feet. Makes water feel silky and softens skin. Magnesium is a mineral that an estimated 80% of people are deficient in. It is easily absorbed through the skin without giving you diarrhea (which can happen when you swallow it). It calms your nervous system and helps you sleep better. You can then water your plants with the bath water!

Screen Shot 2018-07-23 at 3.17.04 PMThe Gaiam Pressure Point Massager. $15. Ask for a demo next time you come in! Back when I did chair massage, this was one of my favorite tools to get people to start unwinding. It does something I cannot do with my hands. (I think it works with nerves and fascia.) When I roll this across tight shoulders, people often feel goosebumps all the way down their legs. Woo hoo! It feels awesome. I believe that every home and workplace where people collect tension in their shoulders would benefit from keeping one of these around and using it on each other. Tip: it can be a bit too intense on bare skin. Also, someone else has to roll your shoulders, arms, and back, but you can use it by yourself on your legs. Makes a great gift. (Also, if you can’t wait, you can find these at Target on the aisle with the yoga gear.)

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Listen to Your Pain: The Active Person’s Guide to Understanding, Identifying, and Treating Pain and Injury by Ben Benjamin, 2007. $5-16 (used or new). One of the best self-help books available when it comes to common musculo-skeletal injuries. Not sure if you have a rotator cuff injury or frozen shoulder? This book explains how to identify which tissue is injured, with recommendations for self-treatment as well as advice on when to seek expert help. Every home with active people could use this great reference book.

Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 1.17.10 PMSacroWedgy. $40-54. For people with low back and/or hip pain, pelvic girdle tension, or pain or numbness radiating down the legs, the SacroWedgy helps. Place it under your sacrum while lying on your back and rest for up to 20 minutes. You’ll feel relief from tension you probably didn’t even know you had. About 60% of those who tried it gave it 4 or 5 stars. The pink version is wider and shorter for typical female pelvises, and the blue version is narrower and longer for typical male pelvises.

pillowTherapeutica Sleeping Pillow. $75 and up, depending on size (comes in 5 sizes based on shoulder width). Comes with a 5-year warranty — works out to $15-20 per year to relieve your neck, TMJ, and sleep issues. Designed by a chiropractor and an ergonomic designer, this pillow will serve you well if you sleep on your side or back, keeping your vertebrae properly aligned and relieving pressure on the jaw. Since you spend one third of your life sleeping, this is an investment in your immediate and long-term well-being. Measure your shoulder width before ordering. Takes a king-size pillow case.

I get a small commission from Amazon sales if you choose to buy through these links.