By Laura Gordon
Therapies for insomnia vary from prescription drugs to self hypnosis. One of the simplest therapies is self massage.
First though, making a ritual of bedtime is a nice way of calming the mind and preparing yourself for sleep. Here are some suggestions:
• Take a warm bath. Adding Epsom salts will help you ground, center and relax. If baths are not are not your thing, a hot shower will do the job, too.
• As you are preparing for bed listen to relaxing music.
• Make sure your bed is comfortable and that you are not too hot or too cold. Use pillows, knee separators , leg wedges , mattresses, and other sleep products that are comfortable and provide the support you need.
• Drinking an herbal tea, such as chamomile or a cup of warm milk with honey, can also help promote sleep.
The following are instructions for five different self-massage techniques that will help relax the body allowing sleep to overcome an active mind.
The followings are from http://www.tcmadvisory.com/2008/6-11/20086111513.html . See their site for some more great techniques.
1. The Center of the Sole of the Foot:
This massage can be done while washing your feet.
a. First, heat your feet including the ankles with hot water.
b. After the feet become red and hyperemic with dilated capillaries, use the palmer aspect of both thumbs at the centre of the sole of the foot (arch), work in a circular motion approx. ninety times. This can regulate the liver function, strengthen the stomach, help induce sleep and promote health.
2. The Head
a. Rub the palms of the hands together until they are hot. Then gently rub the face with the palms ten to twenty times.
b. With the tip of the middle finger massage between the eyebrows thirty times. Then massage the ridge along the eyebrow for thirty times or until soreness is felt at the massage point.
3. The Ears
a. Massage the bilateral auricles (immobile shell that lies close to the side of the head) with the thumb and index finger in a downwards direction for twenty times. (Put the thumb on the back of the auricle, and the index finger on the front.)
b. Then rub the earlobes in the same way for thirty times until the ears feel hot.
4. The Neck Anterior
a. Massage the depression next to the mastoid process behind the ear with the palmer aspect of the index finger, rubbing and kneading for fifteen times.
b. Then massage with four fingers along the outer side of the sternocleidomastoid muscle from top to bottom for twenty times. The massage may be done with strength but not too fast.
The Neck Posterior
c. Firmly squeeze the middle back of your neck with one hand. Hold the pressure for 15 seconds and slowly release. Repeat at the top and bottom of your neck. Cover the neck area three times and repeat on other side.
5. The Abdomen
a. Rub the palms until they are hot, and massage the abdomen in a clockwise direction with one palm for twenty times, then counterclockwise for another twenty times.
b. Use the left and right palms alternately.
Massage of the abdomen can not only cure insomnia but also strengthen the stomach and promote digestion. Thus, it is particularly helpful for insomnia patients with gastric troubles.
As you lie in bed doing each of these techniques concentrate and keep your mind focused, count the number of massage strokes as you practice and observe yourself taking deep, full breaths.
Practice self massage every day and you will be helping yourself elevate sleeplessness but don’t forget that massage alone is not the complete answer to insomnia. It is just as important to pay attention to your emotional state, diet and daily life avoiding over stressing the emotions and/or over-fatiguing the body.