Health

4 Self-Massage Moves That Will Get You Slim and Relieve Tension

Body alignment expert Lauren Roxburgh shows how using any soft, squishy ball to fire up your body’s power centers — the areas that govern your physical and emotional well-being — helps you ease pain, nix stress, and slim down without struggle.

woman releasing hamstring muscle with a squishy ball
Annie McElwain

The hamstring extension nixes back pain and quiets worries.

This move targets the pelvic floor — the muscles at the base of the pelvis that stabilize your hips — to ease pain. “We hold fears here. Releasing them helps you live more harmoniously,” says Roxburgh.

To do: Sit on the floor and put a ball (like the LO ROX Aligned Life Body Sphere: $23.95, Amazon) under your right sit bones. Bend your left knee and keep that foot flat on the floor. Reach your hands behind you, inhale and sit up tall. Exhale and roll your butt over the ball. Repeat eight times, then switch sides.

woman laying on massage ball massaging lower hip
Annie McElwain

The mid-belly melt with a twist
reduces bloat and bolsters confidence.

Strengthening the deep core, the area around your belly button, helps improve digestion to nix bloat. “It also houses the psoas, which some call the muscles of the soul,” says Roxburgh. “Connecting to it is key for harnessing your intuition and creativity.”

To do: Lie on your belly with your knees bent, resting on your forearms. Place the ball under your belly button and take three deep, full breaths. Let your feet drop a few inches to the right; take three breaths, then repeat to the left. Do this three times.

woman lying on side with a ball underneath her head
Annie McElwain

Side-lying neck and jaw release
relieves headaches and halts overthinking.

Releasing tension held in the head with this movement will eliminate neck soreness and banish headaches. “This will also help you connect to your inner voice and improve decision-making,” adds Roxburgh.

To do: Lie on your left side and place the ball above your left ear. Inhale and look up, letting the ball roll to the back of your head. Exhale and look down, letting it roll to your cheek. Repeat eight times, then switch sides.

woman hugging herself laying on ball
Annie McElwain

Hugging yourself eases shoulder tension and banishes anxiety.

When you open up your heart and shoulders, you relax the physical and emotional stress you hold there and improve your ability to give and receive love, says Roxburgh.

To do: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place the ball between the tops of your shoulder blades, supporting your neck. Inhale and hug yourself. Exhale and reach out to the sides, palms up. Repeat eight times.

This article originally appeared in our print magazine.

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