Five-Minute Tension Tamers
Give Sore Arms a Hand
Tired from lifting your kid? Try a compression-decompression move, says Denise Borrelli, Ph.D., spokesperson for the American Massage Therapy Association:
?Place the palm of your right hand on the upper part of your left arm, just below the shoulder; squeeze for three seconds and release.
?Move your palm down an inch; squeeze for three seconds and release.
?Continue to squeeze and release down to your wrist.
?Repeat with your left hand on your right arm.
Use a technique called the Chinese hair pull, says Borrelli. It'll bring more oxygen and blood flow to the scalp, calming the muscles and nerves that cause pain:
?Using both hands, spread your fingers and run them through your hair, pulling locks up and away from your scalp.
?Close fingers an inch above your scalp, grabbing onto hair.
?Move hands back and forth quickly in a vibrating motion while pulling your hair upward.
?Do this for 30 seconds, then move on to a different part of your scalp and repeat.
Relax Your Back
Belly dancing does the trick, stretching and toning abdominal and back muscles, says Vincent Cipolla, assistant clinical professor of osteopathic manipulation at Michigan State University, in East Lansing:
?Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and pretend you're facing a giant clock.
?Tilt your pelvis up toward 12 o'clock, tucking your butt in. Release. Move your pelvis back toward 6 o'clock, then 3 o'clock and 9 o'clock.
?Continue to tilt your pelvis toward all of these points, varying the order. Once that gets easier, try moving your pelvis to the "clock's" other numbers, in any order.
Want Happy Feet?
This reflexology technique soothes foot muscles:
?Sitting, put your left foot in your lap, says Borrelli.
?With the knuckle of your right index finger, press below your big toe for two seconds; release.
?Move your knuckle down just a bit, press for two seconds, and release. Continue down your foot to your heel, keeping in line with your big toe.
?Do the same press-and-release "walk" down imaginary lines from each toe to your heel; then switch feet and repeat.