How to Prepare for COVID Vaccine: A Self-Massage Technique to Reduce Arm Pain

The COVID vaccines have been rough for a number of people, myself included.

In this video, I'll show you a massage technique you can use at home to decrease the possible symptoms associated with your COVID vaccines, especially arm soreness.

The technique replaces the expensive tools we use in our massage therapy practice with a butter knife and a spoon. You can use these items to strategically massage the soft tissues around the area where you plan to get your vaccines.

The technique helps increase the softness of your tissues by reducing the pressure exerted on where your nerves innervate your skin and connective tissues and by increasing blood-flow to the area being massaged.

There are three steps to perform the technique.

1) Start by using the broad non-serrated side of the butter knife, or spoon, or spoon wrapped in rubber bands (the ones you get with produce are great because they're wider). Start by using quick and light sweeping movements, covering as much surface area as possible. This helps to desensitize the skin.

2) Once the skin is no longer responsive to the sweeping, gradually apply a light pressure, again, with the broad side of the knife/spoon, and begin creating a slower wave pattern. You might feel adhesions just underneath the skin. It's like using a crayon to trace a leaf under a sheet of paper. Do you remember doing that as a kid? Good times. The idea is not to try to break up the adhesions or dig them out. We're simply creating more space for where the nerves insert into the connective tissue and skin.

3) Now that the skin is becoming more supple, apply another gradual step in pressure. Place the pressure of your hand directly into the center of the broad side of the knife/spoon. From here, you might feel your whole epidermal layer shifting with the movements. That's our goal. You can even try using a torque-like movement, as shown in the thumbnail. It works surprisingly well.

Some modifiers:

A) Try stretching your deltoids while you're massaging your arm. You may need to use lighter pressure, but engaging the muscles can help free-up areas of soft tissues that feel "sticky" or tender.

B) For areas that feel tender, try massage the area directly first, then massage around the area, and come back again to that area and apply a little more pressure.

C) This technique should not be painful or cause a deep reddening of your skin. We're not trying to break up tissues, all we're doing is warming them and helping them become more supple. Please consult your doctor if you have any underlying medical conditions that may be contraindicated this technique.

Was this massage technique useful? If so, contact us at and let us know! Also, if you are curious about other ways self-massage and partner massage can benefit you and those you live with, let us know that too!


John & Kerri,

aka, the Tranquility Company