What Are the Techniques of Neck and Shoulder Massage to Improve Injured Muscles?
Neck and Shoulder massage is a massage given between the neck and the shoulders. It is a shorter treatment and is typically around 30 or 40 minutes long. The pressure in this massage may vary. The therapist usually gives a light to medium touch. If you want a deeper pressure, you need to instruct your therapist for the same.
In a Neck and Shoulder massage, the back, arms, and legs are smoothed before giving the body massage using a body brush, rough mitt or exfoliating scrub to remove the dead skin and to help the body detox naturally.
This kind of massage is best suited for relieving stress and muscular tensions, for shorter times, when wearing a backless dress or going on a beach holiday, hydrating and nourishing dry skin, and improve circulation or muscle tone, boosting lymph.
The rise in the technology has made our life easy but has also increased the stress in our life. Today, we all live in a zone where we are not only dealing with too much of stress but leading an unhealthy life which is somewhere exhausting us physically, putting a lot of pressure on our minds. The stress in our lives has reached a level where we need certain remedies to reduce it and conquer in order to survive. There are a lot of remedies, one such cure is neck and shoulder massage.
Stress is a common reason of neck and back pain. A human being raises his shoulders towards his ears when in stress. This puts a lot of pressure on the back and neck which often leads to a great amount of pain. A gentle neck massage can relieve the effects of stress. Neck and Shoulder Massage is also beneficial for the injured muscles.
Benefits of neck and shoulder massage
Usually, a massage is taken to relieve stress from the muscles and relax it for a bit. But, there are a lot more other benefits. Some of them are as follows,
Reduce pain and aches
The neck and shoulder massage help the body get rid of all kind of pain and aches. People consume painkillers to get a relief from the pain which has a lot of side effects. Neck and Shoulder massage is a natural way to get rid of the pain.
Relief to hard to reach areas
The neck and shoulder massage have the tendency to deliver a relief to the areas which are otherwise hard to reach such as back and sides of the neck.
It helps us eliminating mental as well as physical stress. Stress can lead to lack of concentration which can eventually lead to a reduction in the productivity.
Flexibility in muscles
A good neck and shoulder massage can help us getting rid of lactic acid and increases the blood circulation which makes the muscles flexible.
It is not necessary to book an appointment and go to parlor for the neck and shoulder massage. You can have it anywhere, anytime. It is portable, unlike other massages.
Suitable for everyone
The neck and shoulder massage are suitable for all the age groups computer professionals, office workers, homemakers, athletes, people with muscle fatigue, or elderly people.
Saves time and money
Neck and shoulder massage is not an expensive deal and it saves a lot of time and money. It will also prevent expensive trips to the massage parlors.
Potential side effects of Neck and Shoulder massage
Chances of stroke
The neck is a fragile part of the body. So, getting a massage therapy by poorly trained or incompetent therapists can cause serious problems, including a stroke.
Injury to the blood vessels
According to the experts, a neck and shoulder massage can also create a great harm to the blood vessels which can affect the blood circulation in the body.
As discussed, the neck is a fragile body part and a too much of massage can cause muscles sore instead of being making muscles flexible.
The massage in excess can make muscles sore which can cause inflammation in the body which could often lead to lack of productivity.
Aggravate existing injuries
The deep tissue massage can stimulate old wounds and aggravate the existing injuries. This can make the condition of the body worst. In fact, apart from making existing injuries fresh, it can also give birth to new injuries.
Other side effects
The other side effects of the neck and shoulder massage include fatigue, lingering pain, headache, sleepiness, vomiting, skin redness and heat, and bruising.
What to do if anything happens?
As discussed, the neck and shoulder massages can stimulate old wounds, the side effects associated with the massage do not last long. Consult a doctor if you experience any kind of soreness or pain or any of the side effects beyond a few days.
Avoid any vigorous movements. Avoid getting massages from untrained and inexperienced staff. Neck cracks can cause some unwanted and potentially serious complications.
Techniques of massage
First of all, clip and file the finger nails below the fingertips. The muscles of the neck are generally very small one it needs to be pressed using fingertips for a good massage. Maintain a balance between the height of the massage table and person receiving massage. So that he can rest his arms comfortably on it. Cup the base of the person’s skull in the left hand and rotate it gently with the palms of the left hands towards face. Keep the palm of the right hand on a point where the neck meets shoulder and press it gently in that area. Alternate left and right hands and repeat a minimum of five times. Create loose fists from both the hands and place each fist on the neck. Rotate the wrist forward and move the hands down to the top of the shoulders. Reverse the direction and repeat a minimum of five times. Make a circular motion with your fingers on the area where the neck meets the back. Repeat a minimum of five times. Rotate the head to the left by creating a base in your left hand. Form a fist with the right hand and run it in a circular motion. Finish the massage by gently placing your hands on the shoulders.
The neck and shoulder massage are given with a series of trigger points using thumbs, fingertips, palms, and fists. The therapist can also use flat warm massage stones to release the muscles, or cold stones in case of inflammation. Inflammation is one of the common causes of neck pain. Other causes include, sleeping in the wrong direction, or position, or an abrupt wrong movement.
The combination of hot stone and cold stone massage therapy can be very helpful and shed neck pain and tension. The therapy will start with massage to the shoulders, upper chest, and back of head. This also involves deeper pressure, usually at the base of the skull.
A person can also get relaxation by kneading techniques as it increases the blood flow which gives a relief in the pain. The techniques include gentle grasping and holding of the muscles for a few seconds at a time.
Another way to get a good neck massage on a regular basis is seated chair massage. You can get this massage at $15 for a 15-minute twice per week than $60 for an hour massage once per week. Also, work on your posture if you want your pain to be reduced as poor posture is a major culprit that causes neck pain. Start doing stretching exercises to get a relief from the pain.
If you feel that you are suffering from inflammation such as swelling, heat or irritation, use an ice pack. Use the pack within an interval of 15 minutes to avoid damage to the skin. Try keeping it on 15 minutes, off 15 minutes. In serious cases, consult your doctor.
The benefits of neck massage include release of muscles in the neck and shoulders. Such massage is also helpful for those people who suffer from tension headaches, eye strain, migraines, sinusitis, and chronic neck pain.
If you need a good massage then it is important for your therapist to understand neck massage techniques. How and where to work trigger points in those muscles to help you get a relief and prevent you from further serious muscle injuries.
You can also give you a self-massage. Here is how to give yourself a neck and a shoulder self-massage.
Tilt your head back, and squeeze the flesh at the base of your neck on either side of your spine with the palms and fingers of each hand. Roll your head forward slowly, still squeezing your skin. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds, then return your head to an upright position. The amount of flesh you can squeeze depends on your state of relaxation.
Stroke your hands up and down the back of your neck to warm the area. Then use the fingers of both your hands to make deep, circular pressures all around the neck area, making sure that you do not apply pressure to the spine itself.
Then, place your left hand on your right shoulder and squeeze the muscle. Hold the squeeze for a while and slowly rotate your shoulder backwards. A grinding noise indicates that muscles are tense and should be freed up. Repeat with the right hand on the left shoulder.
Pummel your right shoulder with your left hand to bring fresh blood to the area. Support your left elbow with your right hand to give it a comfort, and keep your wrist loose and floppy as you swiftly strike the flesh. Repeat on your left shoulder.
With your fingers, stroke firmly from the centre of your chest outwards, applying deep pressure between your ribs.
When your fingers reach the outer edges of your ribcage, return to the centre and repeat the movement. Feel for tense spot and concentrate on these as you work over the chest.
Below are some easy stretching exercises you can do at your desk to help alleviate neck pain and headaches resulting from work-related physical stress.
Side Neck Stretch: Sit up straight, pushing your shoulders back. Tilt the head toward your right shoulder. Place your right hand on the top of the head and gently pull down, bringing the right ear closer to the right shoulder and stretching out the muscles on the left side of the neck. Repeat on the other side.
Forward Neck Stretch: Place both hands on the back of the head, pulling the head forward until your chin is nearly touching your collarbone and you are looking at your chest. You should feel tension in the muscles in the back of the neck easing.
Alternate Neck Stretch: Turn the head slightly to the right, place hands on the back of the head, and pull forward until you are looking at your right armpit. Repeat in the other direction.
Keep in mind two things while giving or taking a neck and shoulder massage.
Circular Friction: Apply the circular friction method to the area between the spine and the shoulder blade.
Gliding Stroke: Place both thumbs on the area between the spine and shoulder blade and glide them down the muscle while applying pressure, following the pathway of the shoulder blade.
How to Massage Shoulders
Kneading Technique: Use your thumb to knead the shoulder, adding the fingers of the other hand to help apply more pressure.
Circular Technique: Apply pressure to the shoulder with the fingertips, working in a circular motion up to the neck muscle.
Here are a few stretching tips that you should keep in mind while doing the stretching exercises so that you do not harm yourself unnecessarily.
- Stretch at least once a day, or as often as needed to relieve neck pain.
- Hold stretches for 15-20 seconds.
Once you have finished the neck and shoulder massage on one side, move to the other, then glide both hands down the back in long, flowing strokes to finish up the massage.