Whether you’re sore from an intense yoga session or tense from a stressful day at the office, going for a massage can really help ease that discomfort in your muscles. Unfortunately, however, a massage therapy session isn’t exactly the most convenient or affordable solution.

When you don’t have the time or funds to get an extra pair of hands to work out all the kinks and tension in your body, you can try self-massage techniques to soothe those necessary areas. In fact, self-massage is a great opportunity to not only practice self care, but also self love and body acceptance/positivity.

Not sure where to even start? Here are a few self-massage tips to help your entire body soften into a delicious relaxed state.

Take a Bath or Shower to Relax and Warm Your Muscles

It’s not a requirement, but if you can, a pre-self-massage ritual that helps you unwind a bit and release that surface layer of tension you may be unconsciously holding onto with your muscles. Soaking in the tub or taking a hot shower will help warm up your cold muscles, loosening them up and priming them for deeper relief.

As a bonus, you could try a few simple stretches to help loosen your body up even more. Check out these five reasons to do yoga in the bath for a few easy yoga poses to try in your tub!

Follow Proper Self-Massage Techniques to Avoid Pain or Injury

While gently rubbing your skin probably won’t do much harm, there’s always the chance that applying deeper pressure to areas you’re unfamiliar with could cause more pain than relaxation—especially if that area is injured or has been injured in the past. Do your research first so you know how to properly massage yourself and consult your doctor you have concerns about certain areas.

WebMD has a helpful article detailing simple self-massage steps you can take to relieve tension from your eyes, head, hands, neck, shoulders, lower back, and feet. You could even try looking up self-massage techniques on YouTube to get a more hands-on glimpse of how it’s done.

Use Props for Those Hard-to-Reach Areas

Your hands may not be as effective at massaging specific areas as say, a tennis ball. For areas like the shoulders, back, and even buttocks, there are techniques where you can use a tennis ball on the floor or a wall to slowly lean into it and roll it around your muscles for a deeper massage.

Foam rollers are also popularly used for self-massage before and after physical activity. Props like tennis balls and foam rollers ensure you get deeper into the muscle tissue without having to awkwardly bend and twist your arms around to reach those areas with your hands.

Use Lotion or Massage Oil for Added Stress Relief

For self-massage techniques that involve using your hands, you can enhance the stress relieving effects by using naturally scented body lotions or massage oils to soothe your mind with their aromas as they gently penetrate the skin and muscles to moisturize and relax them.

One of the easiest ways to do this is by making your own with coconut oil and a few drops of your favorite essential oils. Yogi Surprise members will also be receiving a very special type of massage oil from Lotus Flower OM in their October Lifestyle boxes, so keep an eye out for that if you’re a member!

Stretch Your Muscles After Massaging Them

Last but not least, stretch those freshly massaged muscles out when you’re all done with a few simple stretches. They should feel far more loosened, lengthened, and relaxed compared to when you began!