As a health coach, there's no recovery method I rely on more than massage. Additionally, its one of the top things I recommend to my clients I recommend to my clients. Unfortunately, massages can get expensive—but that hasn't stopped me.
In fact, I've found several cost-effective, time-efficient ways to hack my own self-massage. I've relayed these methods to my clients, and they love having these tools at their disposal and often report how much better they feel in their bodies. They're recovering faster, breathing easier, sleeping better, and rocking their workouts.
If you're ready to incorporate self-massage into your routine—or want a few tips for a less expensive massage—here are a few foolproof ideas for you:
1. Roll out your feet and glutes with massage balls.
Runners and sprinters, listen up: I swear by this specific mini green ball ($6) for rolling out achy feet and a standard lacrosse ball ($6.99) for digging in to tight glute muscles. If you're lifting heavy weights, wearing heels, or sitting a ton, you'll also want to pay specific attention to these areas before you develop inflammation issues like plantar fasciitis, tight calves, or chronic pinching in your lower back from overactive glute muscles.
2. Buy a foam roller and keep it by the TV.
If your legs, butt, or back feel stiff, spending 10 minutes on your foam roller melts away tension, stretches out your muscles and fascia, and promotes circulation of fresh blood for true healing and regeneration. Foam rolling can feel awkward at first, but I promise, after just a few times, you'll build up a rhythm and spot the tight spots right away.
Try to roll 10 times over each sore muscle and pause over the tightest areas, breathing through the tension. I recommend this standard one from Amazon for just $18.99. Split the cost with your roommate, and remind each other to roll when you're home watching TV.
3. Go to the nail salon for a $10 chair massage.
Here's a cost-effective idea: Got to a nail salon and ask for the 10-minute massage. Be specific with what you want: Request attention to a tight neck muscle, and ask for deep pressure. I like paying in cash and tipping $3 or $4 for good service. Bonus points if you play hooky from work and sneak in this 10-minute massage for an energy-boosting, stress-relieving midday reboot for your brain and body.
4. Take an Epsom salt bath.
Next time you swing by the pharmacy, pick up a $4, 3-pound bag of Epsom salts. Pour the entire bag into a hot bath and soak for 10 to 20 minutes. You'll melt your muscles and sleep like a baby because of the mineral magnesium in the Epsom salts. Don't have a nice bathroom? Buy yourself a foot-soaking tub instead, pour in the Epsom salts, and enjoy some magical self-care for your feet.
5. Trade foot massages.
Here's a completely free idea: Sync up with your partner and exchange foot massages while watching a movie or enjoying the early fall sunset. Promise each other you'll give it your best efforts, and if one of you is slacking, give each other a nudge! Set up a timer if you'd like, or just massage until you lose steam. Five to 10 minutes a foot seems to work best.
Want more recovery ideas? Here are four unexpected reasons you're sore—and what to do about it.