A good massage has long been a luxury that relaxes the mind and body. Massage and other such touch therapies have lots of benefits beyond stress relief, however. Studies show regular massage can ease symptoms of common ailments such as back pain, leg tightness and even migraines. Unfortunately, a regular regimen usually isn’t part of health insurance coverage, and expenses often add up quickly. Not to worry — self-care massage has positive impacts on your well-being at a fraction of the cost.

At-Home Massage: How It Works

When most of us think of getting a massage at home, we picture our partner or best friend trying hard to work out a knot in our back or neck, maybe rubbing our feet. Some of us try to ease muscle tension on our own. All of these gestures are helpful, but unless you or your loved one have professional training, results could range from ineffective to downright painful.

You need not sign up for massage therapy certification, though. Often, the main trouble is the lack of pressure you can feasibly apply to your own body parts. You need something strong enough to dig into those muscles to make a real difference. The most budget-friendly option is a lacrosse or tennis ball that you roll under your body weight to apply adequate pressure. This method lacks precision, however, and depending on your physical state it can feel downright exhausting. A percussion massager, on the other hand, allows one-handed accuracy with no extra effort. For taking care of your back and neck, such a tool is advantageous.

With the right tools, home massage becomes an everyday indulgence. Here are ways you can address three common ailments on your own.

Backaches: Deep Tissue Pain Reduction

A common complaint of computer workers and heavy lifters alike, back pain has the potential to be debilitating. Obviously, reaching your own back is also difficult. This is the sort of massage that’s perfect for using your percussion massager or even a rolling hand massager. You need controlled pressure for complete relief.

Leg and Foot Pain: Relief Within Your Reach

Unlike your back, you can reach your whole leg pretty easily. Still, depending on where you hurt, you may need a tool to help alleviate your muscular imbalance. Tight quads, hamstrings and IT bands, for example, all get relief from a foam roller. Check YouTube for how-to videos that walk you through how to address your specific issues.

Foot massages address aches in your feet themselves and, with the right techniques, can treat your whole body. Reflexology massage uses corresponding points on the bottoms of your feet to soothe specific parts of your body. Sit comfortably and cross your ankle across your opposite knee. Then, refer to a reflexology chart and press your thumb firmly into the pressure points on your foot to ease your symptoms.

Migraines: Treat Yourself Right During and Between Headaches

Most massage targets a particular area that needs tension release. When it comes to migraines, though, brain massage is out of the question. Instead, studies show general massage treats migraine headaches by improving blood flow. Deep-tissue massage is especially successful for treating these debilitating episodes. In the throes of one, though, heavy touch is the last thing you crave. Instead, try a soothing head massage. If you can’t muster the energy, use a specialized wire head massager. Its spindly fingers rub your scalp with just enough pressure to get your blood flowing without compressing. Then, use your percussion massager between attacks to lessen frequency and severity.

Whether you need relief from tension or everyday issues, give yourself the gift of your own time. By reaching out to yourself with love, you automatically ease tension before you even touch your musculature.