In between your massage sessions, you may find the following tips helpful:
- Loosen your collar.
- If possible, remove confining or thick garments such as jackets & sweaters.
- Center your attention before beginning.
Shrugging the Shoulders
When you shrug your shoulders, you are exercising muscles that tend to get pulled forward and hardened by tension. This tension buildup commonly occurs when you sit with your weight resting on your tailbone instead of forward over your hips. Shrugging breaks up the tension and provides a mild form of exercise that increases blood flow and restores mobility. The more you support the mobility of your shoulders, the less likely you’ll be to harbor tension there.
- Slowly lift your right shoulder straight up to your ear.
- Slowly return your right shoulder to a neutral position.
- Repeat the lift/release movement with the left shoulder.
- Repeat the lift/release movement with both shoulders together.
• Keep your shoulder muscles soft as you do this. Don’t force the movement.
• Don’t tilt your head toward your shoulder. Bring your shoulder up to your ear.
• Keep the opposite shoulder in a neutral or slightly dropped position and avoid hunching it as you lift the shrugging shoulder.
Squeezing the Neck
It’s easy for your neck to become tense, especially when you are seated at a desk. When the neck muscles tense up, your neck often loses its mobility. A neck massage helps to restore muscle flexibility and release built-up tension.
- Place your right hand on the right side of your neck and position your fingertips just to the right of your neck bones.
- Keeping your fingertips together, massage the neck muscle using a gentle, circular motion. Without straining, move your hand up and down the neck muscle. Keep your neck in a neutral position as you massage.
- Repeat the procedure using your left hand on the left side of your neck.
- Repeat the procedure again using both hands and massage both sides of the neck at the same time.
• Don’t press your neck so hard that you feel compelled to counteract the pressure in order to keep your neck from being pushed out of a neutral, upright position.
• Watch out for the tendency to hunch your shoulders, especially as you increase the pressure.
• Don’t let your head fall backward into your hand or forward into an extreme bend. Keep it level and in a neutral position.
Excerpted from Massage for Busy People, by Dawn Groves © 1999. Reprinted with permission of New World Library, Novato, Calif.; www.nwlib.com; toll-free ordering at 800/972-6657, ext. 52.
Staying in Touch by Jon Lumsden © 2002 Massage Marketing
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