Travel-Friendly Self-Massage to Relieve Tension in Shoulders, Back, and Hips

Dec 29, 2023

Relieve Holiday Stress with a 4 Minute Self-Massage.

Learn simple techniques using massage balls to release tension in your shoulders, back, and hips. Perfect for travelers or those dealing with emotional triggers, this quick self-massage guide offers relaxation and body awareness.  


If you're traveling, I highly recommend just bringing your balls with you.

When we're traveling, or when we're with people who trigger us, who have installed our buttons, we can get extra tension, especially in our upper traps, upper shoulders, upper back, between our shoulder blades, and in our hips, right? So, take one ball to each side of your shrugger muscles. Pinning the balls at the highest point that you can get them. Move any hair out of the way. And then you can try lifting your hips. If that feels like too much, just keep your hips down. But if it feels good, you can use that leverage to get a little more pressure into your upper shoulders.

Give your upper shoulders a massage. Then just making sure that they're inside the bones of your shoulder blades if you're going to start sliding along so you can slide your head towards the top of your mat. You can try different positions for your arms.

Hips can be down or up, arms can cross or come out, and you may have to make some adjustments if there's clothing that gets in the way, and it's okay, it's not meant to be a smooth process, but really follow your body's signals, your body's requests. What does your body want when you're doing self massage?

You can keep moving down until you get to that spot underneath your shoulder blades that sometimes holds a lot of tension. Especially if you're someone who holds your breath either in or out, this can be great to get attention on your Diaphragm muscle. It bisects your torso right at the bottom of your ribcage. If that's locked, that can have an impact on our breath and vice versa.

So if we do a lot of holding of breath, it can further lock out the diaphragm muscle. So if you're feeling a lot when you get the balls down to the bottom of your ribcage, that can be an indication that there's some work to do there. And it can also be a really nice way to release that diaphragm, and you might just find spontaneous breath comes more easily.

I'm rocking my knees side to side just because it feels good to do that right now. It's totally up to you.

You may want to skip the soft tissue part between your ribs and your pelvis, like your whole lower back area. That can be very tender and move down, move your balls down to your butt dimples.

So once you've found your butt dimples, one ball on either side. Usually, gravity is enough, right? You could wag your hips a little. Imagine you have a tail and wag that tail. You could try swaying your knees. Sometimes that can feel, like, really a lot.

You can also move your balls out to the fleshier part of your butt. I'm taking my balls a little wider into the main central part of my glutes, then picking up my feet, circling my knees a little bit. You're welcome to try it.

Make it your own. Some people like to do two balls on one side on the outer hip.

The benefit of two balls is it's a little less pokey. The weight is distributed more. If you do something on one side, I encourage you to do it on the other side.

 Drop into present moment, into your body. Into a more spontaneous breath and into a sense of belonging.

How does engaging in self-massage or similar practices help you connect with the present moment and your body? 

Do you have any favorite self-massage techniques?

Tell us in the comments...

Stop Walking On Eggshells!

Gentle yoga to release your stress and shift your mindset about struggle.

If you get your buttons pushed often by other people's issues, you may be hypervigilant. You might feel it in your body as clenching, tension, or chronic pain.

You'll become more grounded in awareness of your body.

Stop Walking On Eggshells