The Art (and Science) of Massaging in Your Moisturizer

When many of us pressed pause on our lives over the last year-plus, our bodies bore the brunt of it—stuck in a perpetual work-from-home slouch. “I’ve been teaching a lot of virtual self-massage,” says Brooklyn-based massage therapist and yoga instructor Lara Kohn Thompson. A complete skin, body, and mind treatment, massage boasts big benefits: research* links it with elevated immune markers and feel-good hormones like serotonin and dopamine, along with a reduction in stress and anxiety. The beauty of doing it yourself is that it becomes an everyday act of care—not a once-in-a-while indulgence. Kohn Thompson says pairing it with something you already do daily, like applying body lotion in the morning, can blend it into your routine more easily. Plus, says Kohn Thompson, “getting things circulating this way is a really energizing start to your day.” Here, how to moisturize and massage all at once:


Your Hands

To begin, wrap your hands in lotion and move your wrist in small circles to release any tension. Next, clasp your hands together with your palms up and move your thumb along the palm on your opposite hand. Gently pinch the area between your thumb and forefinger using your opposite thumb and forefinger and then gently pull up each finger. Repeat on your other hand. 

Your Arms

Resting your arm with your palm up, draw a line of lotion from your bicep to your wrist. Then, use your opposite hand to press your palm down, moving towards your fingers—using firm but gentle pressure to blend the lotion into your skin. Follow the same steps with your palm facing down and then repeat on your other arm. 

Your Feet

Sitting with one foot across the opposite knee, warm lotion between your hands and use them to hold onto either side of your foot. Press your thumbs into the bottom of your foot while you press your fingers onto the top of your foot, inching from heel to toes. Once you reach your toes, give each one a little tug and then repeat on your other foot. 

Your Legs

Seated, apply a line of lotion on either side of your leg from ankle to higs. Then, stroke down from hips to ankle using the heel and palm of your hand, blending in the lotion. Next, use your opposite hand to stroke up from ankle to hips, using your palm and fingers. Repeat on the opposite leg.


Shea Ultra-Moisturizing Body Lotion

With deep moisturizing blend of Shea Butter and 100% pure Quinoa oil


Downing, George. The Massage Book. United States: Random House, 1998.
Field T, Hernandez-Reif M, Diego M, Schanberg S, Kuhn C. Cortisol decreases and serotonin and dopamine increase following massage therapy. Int J Neurosci. 2005 Oct;115(10):1397-413. doi: 10.1080/00207450590956459. PMID: 16162447.
Rapaport MH, Schettler P, Bresee C. A preliminary study of the effects of repeated massage on hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal and immune function in healthy individuals: a study of mechanisms of action and dosage. J Altern Complement Med. 2012;18(8):789-797. doi:10.1089/acm.2011.0071
Rapaport MH, Schettler P, Larson ER, Edwards SA, Dunlop BW, Rakofsky JJ, Kinkead B. Acute Swedish Massage Monotherapy Successfully Remediates Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder: A Proof-of-Concept, Randomized Controlled Study. J Clin Psychiatry. 2016 Jul;77(7):e883-91. doi: 10.4088/JCP.15m10151. PMID: 27464321.