Co-authored by Justyna Kareta
people who sit at desks or drive for long periods of time often experience a lot of pain in their neck and shoulders. Giving them a neck massage is a great way to relieve that tension. Massages can also improve blood circulation, ease headache pain, improve someone's mood, and give an energy boost. Giving a good neck massage is a wonderful gift, whether to a friend, loved one, or a professional massage client.
Things You Should Know
Place your partner in a comfortable seated position. What's important is that their back can be comfortably straight. You must also be able to access their shoulders and upper back.
Use light, long strokes. When we think of massages, most of us immediately think of the Swedish massage. It uses long, gentle motions along the surface of the muscles instead of the intense pressure of a style like the deep tissue massage.
Warm the muscles up. Rushing into intense massaging before warming up the muscles can cause your partner to tense up even more under your touch. Ease into the massage by using your fingertips to loosen up and prepare the neck and shoulders. This will put them in the frame of mind to relax into the experience.
Knead your thumbs into the tense muscles. In the previous step, you may have felt hard knots in the muscles. These knots indicate tension, and they need focused pressure from your thumbs.
Glide your fingers up and down the neck. The muscles in the back and sides of the neck also carry a great deal of stress. You will use one hand to warm up the neck muscles for more focused attention.
Pinch along the back of the neck. You want to apply the same focused pressure along the sides of the neck with your thumb. But, you need your other four fingers to stabilize the pressure you're applying with your thumb. Working with both hands at once would force you to wrap your other fingers around the front of the throat. This would cause your partner pain and discomfort. Instead, work with one hand at a time.
Glide your hands down the sides of the neck. It can be difficult to massage the sides of the neck without bothering your partner's throat. To do this, you will glide your hand in a downward motion from the top of the neck to the front of the shoulder. Begin on the left side of their body.
Apply pressure to the outsides of the shoulder blades. Press your fingertips into the shoulder blades and apply firm pressure. Move your hands in a circular, kneading motion to release tension from the muscles in the upper back.
Use the heel of your palm between the shoulder blades. Because the spine is in the center of the back, it can be difficult to massage that area. Applying focused pressure to the spine will cause pain. Instead, use your palm to apply broad pressure.
Massage just under the collar bone. Although most of the massage focuses on the shoulders, neck, and upper back, a little attention to the upper chest can help relieve neck pain.
Massage the upper arms. The arms may seem unrelated to the tension felt in the neck and shoulders, but they’re not. The muscles in the arms, shoulders, and neck all work closely in the movement of the arms. So, relieving tension in the upper arms will also benefit the neck.
Cycle through these motions in an un-patterned manner. If you focus too long on one area with one massaging motion, your partner will grow acclimated to the sensation. Move from muscle group to muscle group and vary your hands' motions to make the experience more pleasurable for them. The less they can predict the sensations, the better the massage will feel.
Use all parts of your hand. Many amateur massagers use their thumbs exclusively when giving massages. While the thumbs are excellent for focused pressure, you can cause pain and discomfort to yourself by over-using them. Instead, use all parts of your hand while giving a massage. Use your thumbs for focused pressure on tension knots.
Do not massage your partner's bones. Applying pressure to bones — the spine especially — can cause pain. Apply pressure only to muscles.
Continue for as long as necessary. A massage does not have to be long to be effective. A quick five-minute massage can make a world of difference. But, a long massage of half an hour to an hour will make them feel pampered and cared for.
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