Five back, head and leg massages that you can do yourself | Good Life

We have been many days of quarantine and many of their hours have been spent sitting in uncomfortable chairs or in the comfortable but damaging sofa posture. The effects of these body positions, added to the stress of the situation, can cause back, head or leg pain. And not all of us have someone to do a relaxing massage to relieve them (some people spend their time alone and others do it in the company of inexperienced hands in the art of giving a massage, not to say counterproductive). But that, a massage, is just what you want … Not all is lost: it is not the same, but one can manage alone. What’s more, it is surprising how good a good self-massage can be.

Two massages to relax the back

When you start to telework, you only see advantages such as getting rid of sleepy journeys in the rush hour and being able to have the desk next to the window that gives more light to the whole house. He never thinks about the role of humble occupational risk technicians, and ends up working with a laptop at the dining room table or sitting on the kitchen bench. Only then does he realize how comfortable office jobs are. “House chairs are not designed to spend so many hours in the same position. The height of the table is also not adequate for writing and we can finish with the upper area of ​​the back and the lumbar region loaded, “he says. Carmen Sanz Bando, physiotherapist and director of Bando Physiotherapy.

“If we notice an overload in the shoulder area, we only have to cross the opposite arm through the chest to touch the scapula area [el omóplato]. Afterwards, we should give small pinches of moderate intensity forward and to the sides, as if we were kneading the skin, “explains the expert. We must stop longer at the points where we notice” small balls or knots, which are the contractures “. Yes we get tired, we can change the arm and massage the other shoulder. The soft areas, where there are stubborn muscle fibers that must be released, we can press them without fear. How much one approaches bones like nailsibutts should soften to avoid finish off a hematoma. “The same in the neck. Here it is not convenient to compress too much because there are vessels and many nerve endings. If we press on one, we would notice a cramp.”

The lumbar area usually suffers when we have a bad posture when we sit down and when we spend hours on the sofa watching series. There are exercises to prevent us from taking its toll, but once the pain appears, it’s time to massage. The method is similar to that of the cervicals: “With both hands we will make movements from the bottom up, while pressing with the buds on the sides,” says the expert. If it only hurts on one side, “we must throw the torso towards the opposite to expose the area where the discomfort is and to be able to massage it more easily.” The central region of the back is more complicated (unless you are a contortionist), so the expert recommends help us with a tennis ball or plastic water bottle. “We will lie on the floor and drop the weight little by little on the area that bothers us. Afterwards, we rub ourselves with the ball or the bottle, which is located between the floor and our backs,” he points out.

It is important to give the right pressure, which must be moderate but forceful. It is not a relaxing massage, but a therapeutic one. “People believe that you can cause an injury with your own massage, but no. No matter how bad you give it, some benefit you get. The mere fact of rubbing generates a heat that favors vasodilation, which helps to eliminate waste products and increase the oxygenation of muscle fibers, “explains Sanz. The massage can be done dry, but use a oil prevents friction from causing abrasions. “Whatever it is, these days we can not get exuisitos. It is worth a body oil that we have at home and even olive oil.”

Relieve headache without drugs

At the end of a day cloistered at home, with a partner and rowdy churumbeles, the least that can happen is to end with headache. Especially if there is job uncertainty or you are concerned about the health of a family member. In these cases, the fastest alternative is facial self-massage, but since this is not the time to touch our faces, another equally valid strategy is cranial massage. “It relieves tension and reduces mild headache. It also reduces the discomfort of wearing a very tight ponytail all day,” says Mariló Herranz Fernández, one of the most vaunted film and television hairdressers. She uses therapy, which is common in some hair salons, when she works with actresses by removing hairstyles and wigs on film sets.

It’s made on three phases. “First, we rest the fingers of the hand on the upper part of the skull, just at the height of the hairline. We imagine that the hand is an octopus and we apply moderate pressure with the fingertips, making small oscillations at the same time We change the hand to the crown area and repeat the maneuver. Then, we put our hand on the nape of the neck. It is a region full of nerve endings and it will give us an enormous feeling of calm. We place the big toe in the hole where the neck starts, we squeeze and pull up, as if we wanted to lift our heads, “describes Herranz.

The second part of the massage is done “putting both hands parallel to the temples, at the level of the ears, with the fingers separated, pressing on the scalp. It involves making rotary movements while moving the hands between the upper part of the skull and neck two to three times. ” The third and last phase is done with the palms of the hands. “We have to put our fingers through the hair until the palms of the hands touch the scalp. We repeat the pressure and the circular movement from bottom to top, as if we wanted to move the bones of the skull.”

Goodbye tired legs

In addition to going overboard with salt and poor hydration, poor movement also worsens circulation and promotes fluid accumulation in the lower extremities. Doing some type of physical activity that activates blood circulation and not standing for long periods of time helps to avoid bloating. Although it is not always possible and that is when we can draw the help of a good draining massage.

The first thing is to put a cream for tired legs or circulatory oil with menthol. It serves to promote circulation and that the hands slide better. “We put both hands around the ankle, so that the fingers are over the calf. With gentle movements, we bring the hands up to the knees. There is no pressure with the fingertips nor should it be painful. It is about tracing movements like ascending waves with the fingers and hands on the calves. We will continue down the thigh, without neglecting the back and sides, “explains Paz Torralba, director of The Beauty Concept. Making the upward movement serves, according to the expert, to “displace the fluid towards the lymph nodes in the groin.” Like when we squeeze the tube of toothpaste until it comes out of the mouthpiece. Between five and 10 minutes per leg will be more than enough to notice an improvement.

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Massage guns for neck, shoulder, back in the test

Bonn They hum, knock, vibrate and shake. They are now available in all colors and shapes and from different manufacturers; they can be dirt cheap or incredibly expensive: massage pistols for troubled office workers. A trend in the USA for a long time, the devices are conquering the European market.

The manufacturers are targeting highly motivated but slow-moving loungers at the desk with uncomfortable neck tension, shoulder and back pain. The devices, which cost between 60 and 600 euros, promise quick and effective remedies at the push of a button.

The problem: Because the massage pistols are becoming more and more popular, more and more suppliers are appearing – but sometimes with very dubious devices, which on closer inspection turn out to be cheap and bad copies of the branded products. The dealers, mostly from Asia, lure with very low prices. The selection from the online retailer alone Amazon is now gigantic – who should keep an overview?

Biggest shortcoming: So far there have been almost no serious tests of these devices – neither at the Stiftung Warentest nor at the consumer centers there are indications of what to look for when buying. At the online retailer Amazon, the devices usually have very positive reviews, whereby only those who are backed by a “verified purchase” are really meaningful.

After all, there are several testimonials from athletes or physiotherapists on YouTube. The latter have been using professional massage pistols for a long time to optimize the treatment of their patients.

Massage gun

Athletes like to use the equipment to loosen their muscles.

(Photo: TheraGun)

But what should I pay attention to when shopping? How do I recognize a good device and when should I stay away from it? We have tested two of the most popular gadgets and a no-name provider made in China for you and can say what the new wonder weapon is good for against tension, how it can help and how much you have to spend on it.

What are the products?

The products are battery-operated massagers with different attachments to treat different muscle groups accordingly. The speed of the concentrated, fast impulses (up to 3200 beats per minute) can also be varied.

Since I often have to deal with severe tension in the neck and shoulder area, I am always looking for effective and effective alternatives to manual physiotherapy in the practice or massage appointments away from home. They not only cost money, but also time. Such a small pistol actually seems optimal for home use, doesn’t it?

The devices in the test

On the left the TheraGun massage gun, on the right the Hypervolt device, which is 200 euros cheaper.

(Photo: Carina Kontio)

For our test, I choose the two leading suppliers: the TheraGun pistol for 699 euros and the Hypervolt for 499 euros. At the same time, I am looking at a 60 euro China variant that my colleague Pavel is discussing Ebay bought.

What can the portable electric gun be used for?

Regardless of whether large muscles such as the back, thighs and chest or smaller muscles such as the shoulder blades, spine or calves: All of these can be treated with the devices for pain, sore muscles or just for relaxation.

The massage increases blood circulation, which should relieve pain quickly and gently stretch stiff muscles. The range of motion should also improve through the treatment, which can be carried out independently. Some customers even report using the massage before yoga to go deeper in stretching.

Used by professionals

Some physiotherapists and chiropractors also use the massage guns.

(Photo: TheraGun)

In fact, the treatment with a massage gun, initially completely independent of the manufacturer, feels incredibly good and extremely pleasant. Immediately after the test devices arrived in the editorial office, I massaged half of the editorial team, and there was hardly anyone who found the powerful, fast vibrations uncomfortable.

Quite the contrary: to amuse everyone present, the colleagues I “shot” at made various feel-good sounds, while other interested parties lined up to get to the next place.

A colleague and her husband bought such a massage gun a few days after my assignment, and she was so enthusiastic about it. Another colleague emailed me whether we could make a bulk order. So what’s the deal with these wonder devices?

Are there any advantages over conventional massages?

For me, the clear argument for each massage pistol is the time it takes. With the gadget, I can basically treat myself all the time and in all possible places – even my tense back at the desk in the office.

A few minutes are enough to create a pleasant and pleasant feeling and to relax. Even the feet can be treated with it. Only sensitive areas such as the neck, abdomen or the flanks at the level of the kidneys do not feel good or even hurt when you walk over them with a pistol.

Even if the price seems very high at first, the device could pay off in the long term for someone who otherwise goes to a massage for 80 euros and more every week. This ultimately decides the personal balance. But let’s take a look at the individual devices.

The elite model: The TheraGun G3PRO * for 699 euros

This massage gun looks very robust and is simple and elegantly designed. It is delivered in a large black matte box, which is certainly not inadvertently attached to the packaging Apple-Remembered products. What I find particularly good about the TheraGun is that there is a practical and smart carrying case.

All the extras such as charging cable, a second battery (an additional 75 minutes), the instructions for use and all six attachments can be packed in it and I can simply take the wonder gadget, which weighs a whopping 2.9 kg, to the office.


The device comes with a practical day bag for a removable battery, attachments, charging station and operating instructions.

(Photo: Carina Kontio)

Another plus: the included second removable battery. This doubles the runtime of the pistol, which is normally 75 minutes. Although I absolutely advise you against using the device until the battery runs out. The manufacturers themselves point out that the massage gun can only be used for a few minutes per muscle group.

The bumps or vibrations are quite powerful and intense. However, it feels best to have someone second who uses a pistol to massage you while lying on your stomach and enjoying.

The triangular handle and the adjustable arm are also positive for the TheraGun. This makes it a bit more convenient to use the gun alone. This makes it easier to get to hard-to-reach places, such as the lower back or shoulder muscles.

However, what is not possible is the volume. The pistol has two speeds and is so loud even at the lowest level that you can hardly understand your own word. Points are also deducted for the weight of almost three kilograms. If you hold the device in your hand longer, you have to exert a lot of strength, and you will soon feel signs of fatigue in your hands and arms.

The Porsche under the pistols: with the Hypervolt for 499 euros against tension

On the other hand, treatment with the Hypervolt is much more pleasant. This massager, which comes with five attachments, was also subjected to a long-term endurance test. Compared to the TheraGun, the Hypervolt is a real flyweight at just 1.4 kilograms. This is more pleasant for myself when I massage myself alone and for another person who treats me with it.

Although the manufacturer does not include a carrying bag, this shortcoming compensates for the pistol elsewhere. Not only is it significantly quieter than the TheraGun, it is also 200 euros cheaper.

Another plus: there are three massage levels, which is absolutely pleasant. In general, the more levels, the more flexibility I have in the massage. Unfortunately, the scope of delivery does not include a removable battery like the TheraGun – you would have to buy it separately for 40 euros.

The running time is given as 150 minutes. In the test, I did not check this with the stopwatch, but the pistol definitely lasted several days in a row in the evening.

The vibrations are firm, intense and, for my taste, also much more pleasant than with the TheraGun – by the way, several chiropractors and many physiotherapists also use this model.

What do good pistols cost?

I vividly remember a professor from my economics degree who told us in the lecture that there was generally no demonstrable correlation between price and quality. As mentioned at the beginning, there are a number of fakes and cheap suppliers of pistols for which you can pay between 70 and 200 euros.

So you can be lucky with one of the dozens of pistols from China or really fall on the nose. I would sort my colleague Pavel’s cheap device somewhere in between. The pistol even came with a practical carrying bag for 60 euros.

The cheap pistol (left)

Visually an impressive copy of the expensive Hypervolt – but does it also deliver what it promises?

(Photo: Carina Kontio)

Sure, overall you can tell from the workmanship that savings were made at many corners and ends. I also don’t want to know how these devices do when tested for pollutants in a laboratory. I am more of the type who prefers to trust the brand manufacturers.

But what you have to leave the part: For its 60 euros, it’s not that bad. The volume is somewhere between the two alternative devices, the bumps are okay, and if you don’t have high demands and rarely want to massage, you will be satisfied.

In the blind test, however, I was always able to immediately “feel” whether someone was holding the cheap cannon or the premium device to my back. You immediately notice which pistol comes from Asia.

Another disadvantage of the cheap China cannon: In contrast to the other two massagers, it only has a built-in battery. This has several disadvantages. I can only use the gun for one battery charge and cannot continue to use it as long as it is connected to the socket.

Even more serious is the fact that the entire device becomes useless if the battery is defective. Because it cannot be replaced, I have to dispose of the entire device. As the saying goes: If you buy cheap, you buy twice!

Our conclusion

What does that mean for your purchase decision? I summarize again what criteria you should pay attention to. Let’s start with the weight: the lower the better. If there are few or only one attachment as an accessory, the product is rather not a good choice.

On the other hand, it is good if there are several levels for the intensity. When buying, also pay attention to a replaceable battery. Low-cost suppliers usually install it because it saves a lot of money in production. Another point is the volume. Models that are processed incorrectly are much louder than the expensive devices.

Battery change with the Hypervolt

Make sure you have a replaceable battery, otherwise the entire device must be disposed of in the event of a battery defect.

(Photo: Carina Kontio)

But now perhaps the most important note: All the devices are very powerful massage tools that can cause damage if used incorrectly. Therefore, if you have injuries or certain previous illnesses (herniated discs, rheumatism, myopathy and so on), I strongly recommend that you speak to your doctor or physiotherapist first.

I presumably overdid it with the application and took the massage gun to the Bonn university clinic. Because I used the devices too long and always at the highest level in my back and on the sacroiliac joint or sacrum, my muscles contracted so much at some point that they went on strike and put me completely out of action.

The test winner

If I had to choose, the Hypervolt would be the gun of my choice: it is quieter, cheaper, and just as powerful and powerful as the TheraGun.

(Photo: Carina Kontio)

Daniela Kösler, an experienced physiotherapist and trainer, is therefore skeptical and advises against self-treatment with the devices. “I find it problematic when someone treats his tensions himself.” On the one hand because of a lack of anatomical knowledge. “On the other hand,” says Kösler, “tension often arises as a result of trauma, and I could increase it if I put too much pressure on the muscles.”

Your tip for really painful tension: don’t push or shoot, but gently move the muscles – and under the guidance of a medically trained person. After this gadget test, I decided not to buy a massage gun for home use.

The trip to the hospital, where I had to wait for a doctor sitting in a wheelchair for hours with the most horrific pain, was a lesson for me. It took three weeks and four different strong medications to get me to move almost painlessly again.

Anyway: isn’t it much nicer to be massaged by two soft, warm and strong human hands? In other words, maintaining health is easier than curing illness.

More: Gadgets against (ins) sleep disorders – The big business with the sleepless. How can you sleep well without chemicals? Which gadgets help and what should we keep away from? We started looking for it.


At the Berlinale, pearls of plenty

Now that the prize list has fallen, the time has come for a final review of this successful 70e Berlinale, to evoke a few films that have been able to float in the memory of the festival critic exhausted by an overflow of images, German coffee and stuffy pretzels.

Mental space

Siberia by Abel Ferrara

ITA, DEU, MEX 2020, Competition
2020 Vivo film. Maze pictures. Piano

Siberia of Abel Ferrara. Vivo film. Maze pictures. Piano

Let’s start with an aberration, which we cannot say whether we like it or not, one of the most awaited films of the competition which created an almost general perplexity: Siberia by Abel Ferrara. It is a series of enigmatic visions and encounters experienced by an American, Clint (Willem Dafoe), running a bar in the middle of Siberia. Memories, dreams, nightmarish or mystical apparitions are linked together in this trip where we guess the clear influence of Andrei Tarkovski. Many critics found the film grotesque, and most of the spectators in the very large room of the Friedrichstadt-Palast, where we saw it, had apparently chosen to consider that they were facing a comedy. We do not hide the fact that certain situations or ideas made us smile and that it is quite difficult to genuinely adhere to this mystical-psychoanalytic peregrination in which Ferrara immerses us in the obscure depths of his imagination. But, in addition to the fact that the film arouses in us the sympathy of unclassifiable and netless objects, it is undeniable that the one who produced it is a real filmmaker, who knows how to create singular images, invent a complex mental space or seize us by a simple connection between two planes. And in a festival where there are so many films in one day, sometimes of great platitude or shapeless blistering, this Siberia so mocked at least had the audacity to explore in its own way nothing less than the twists and turns of cinematic time and space, through those of dream and memory.

Malmkrog by Cristi Puiu

ROU, SRB, CHE, SWE, BIH, MKD 2020, Encounters

Malmkrog by Cristi Puiu. Mandragora

It is in a completely different way that we recognize a strong sense of duration and framework in the long, complex and sometimes sumptuous shots that constitute Malmkrog (presented in the Encounters section), the new film by Romanian filmmaker Cristi Puiu (discovered in 2005 with the extraordinary the Death of Dante Lazarescu). Shots that are not just the result of a skill in framing and photographing, but that are constantly tended by life and the words that unfold therein. Adapting texts from the Russian philosopher and poet Vladimir Soloviev, this 3:20 am film takes place in a unique place: a mansion in Transylvania where Nikolai, a large landowner, welcomes Christmas friends of aristocrat friends, of different nationalities. Between meals and board games, their main activity consists in sharing their visions of the world, essentially in French, around subjects as big as death, progress, religion, morals. We think of Manoel de Oliveira, with less humor although the film is not devoid of fantasy and strangeness. You can get lost in conversations but it is the very word that matters, the need to keep talking, to think out loud even if it turns out to be increasingly complex and perilous.

Rizi | Days by Tsai Ming-Liang

TWN 2019, Competition
Homegreen Films

Days from Tsai Ming-liang. Homegreen Films

Days by Tsai Ming-liang (in competition) marks the return to fiction after seven years of absence (since stray dogs, in 2013) from another great filmmaker of the plan, of their slow deployment over time. He is equal to himself in his new film where, far from Puiu’s talks, almost no words are spoken. Again, he becomes attached to solitudes that will eventually intersect. In the countryside, a man (Lee Kang-sheng, the filmmaker’s favorite actor since his first film) with tired and slow gestures, seems to be bored and suffering physically, requiring baths, massages and acupuncture sessions; in the city, a younger man, on the contrary, is distinguished by the dexterity of his gestures, especially when he is washing food and cooking it. In the montage that shows them evolving in parallel, elements visible in almost every plane already unite them: water, fire, plants, present in many forms. The film is tied to the meeting of the two men where, for the time of a sensual and then sexual massage, the skillful hands of the first relieve the tired body of the second, until enjoyment. It is very clear and very beautiful, no offense to the impatient.


Domangchin yeoja | The Woman Who Ran | Die Frau, die rannte by Hong Sangsoo

The Woman Who Ran from Hong Sang-soo. Jeonwonsa Film Co. Production

In Hong Sang-soo, the precision and rigor of the plans is not as obvious as in Puiu or Tsai. The Korean filmmaker, who claims Rohmer’s influence, again appears in The Woman Who Ran (presented in competition) a lightness and a simplicity that the frames, panoramas or zooms scrutinize with acuity but without will to artificially embellish their obviousness. A young woman (the magnificent filmmaker’s muse Kim Minhee) takes advantage of her husband’s business trip to visit three former friends. Through their conversations mixing very concrete and material subjects – the price of things, neighborhood problems, food, vegetarianism -, Hong deals in his own way with very contemporary questions, with a humor that gradually turns to melancholy . Ultimately, this film in which the few men who appear are troublesome and essentially filmed from behind, evokes a certain female solitude, chosen or suffered. To cold surveillance camera shots, Hong sets his gaze on the lookout, available to prodigious chances, such as this camera movement which reveals a perfectly placed and attentive cat at the end of a long shot where the stake of the conversation was precisely the presence of cats in the vicinity. A plan so miraculous that it sparked applause in an entire room of criticism in Berlin.

In the recesses of the parallel selections, a few films with modest means made, like Hong Sang-soo, of their economic poverty an engine of freshness and vitality. In Boarding (Panorama section), the new film by Guillaume Brac, declared admirer of the Korean filmmaker, we follow the summer getaway of two friends going to find in the Drôme the conquest of an evening of one of them. As in July tales (2018), Brac turns again with young actors from the National Conservatory of Dramatic Art, rediscovering something of the adventurous spirit of Jacques Rozier’s films but by matching it to the languages, cultures and customs of a very contemporary youth . As always with Brac, under his apparent humility the film is precise and dense, in addition to being funny and extremely endearing.

Magnifying glass

In Isabella (presented to Encounters), the Argentinian Matías Piñeiro films another friendly adventure, but coupled with an ambiguous rivalry. Two young theater actresses apply for the same role, that of Isabella in Measure for measure of William Shakespeare, while the brother of one is the lover of the other. It is a film about envy, in the double sense of the word – desire and jealousy – where the Rivetian play with the theater is made more complex (something new in Piñeiro) by a play with chronology and a formalism which sometimes leads to on an abstraction of colors and shapes. A captivating and confusing film that will perhaps be enjoyed above all by those who already know Piñeiro’s cinema, all the elements of which (theater, friendship, acting, speech) are here reorganized in a more free and mysterious way.

Finally, one of the great discoveries of the festival was A metamorfose dos pássaros, the first feature by Portuguese catarina Vasconcelos (presented at Encounters), shot for less than 100,000 euros. It is a biography of the filmmaker’s own family, of his grandparents and parents, reconstituted in beautiful fine-line shots essentially framing gestures, objects, photographs, and playing on materials, colors, simple visual effects (the recurrent use of a magnifying glass, for example) while voiceovers follow one another to evoke moments in the life of each. Imagine a Cavalier film filmed by Manoel de Oliveira (still him) to get an idea of ​​the beauty and originality of this minimalist and poetic family novel. The kind of unexpected little pearls that we always hope to find in this clutter of films that is a film festival as bloated as the Berlinale.

Marcos Uzal