In a video on TikTok that's racked up more than 4.5 million views and 640,000 likes, Becca Walker, the licensed massage therapist behind Massage at Home, shared how great pillows work for self-massage. Even though you're not actually massaging the tension away with any tools, you're getting a deep stretch that gives you the same end result: pure bliss, less pain, and less tightness.
"Pillows make a great addition to at-home muscle health and self-massage techniques. Often pillows can be used to position your body for a more exaggerated stretch," says Walker. "This stretch in particular decompresses the spine, which basically means it elongates it. From a soft tissue perspective, this can help release some of the fascial tissue and stretch tendons and muscles that attach to the sacrum."
Lower back pain can come about for many reasons. "Living a sedentary lifestyle or poor posture can lead to compressing the lower back," Walker says. That's why she says it's so important to stretch the lower back often. While she says things like Child's Pose and Cat Pose are quick stretches you can do several times a week, the pillow stretch is great for anytime you want something deeper. "Especially if you've been at your desk for long periods of time," she says.
If you have a history of fainting, severe lower back pain, or are pregnant, Walker says to avoid the pillow stretch. Otherwise, here's exactly how to do it.
Reply to @givemassageathome Always listen to your lower back.♬ original sound - Becca Walker
How to do the pillow stretch
For a visual, watch Walker demonstrate it here.
- Place 2 to 3 pillows under your pelvis and hang your upper body off the bed or couch.
- Relax and take 10 deep breaths.
- Get up slowly, removing one pillow at a time.
Try these yoga poses that feel like a massage:
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