Hello, natural skin care enthusiasts! We are excited to have Allison Denney, RMT of The Rebel Massage Therapist write a guest post for us. We find her knowledge very useful, and know you will too.
How to Relieve Muscle Tension in Neck & Shoulders
By far the biggest issue I hear as a massage therapist is chronic tension in the neck and shoulders. There are a host of reasons why this is true but let’s just put it this way… computers and cell phones are keeping me in business! And as nice as it would be, we can not all have our own private massage therapist on hand at the end of the day to melt away our stress. So I wanted to share some insight into what’s going on inside that neck of yours, and how to eliminate a large portion of the weight off your shoulders you feel after a long day.
I am a huge fan of Unrefined Shea Butter and have created a Deep Tissue Body Butter that I use in my practice religiously. A whipped combination of Shea and Mango butters enhanced with jojoba and apricot oils, along with a few of my favorite essential oils-and I am able to sink and drag into the tissue, creating a profound effect. My clients love it!
So do I. I love it so much, I use it on myself! Below is a self-massage protocol I practice when the tension in my neck is rising. I encourage you to follow along and see how well you sleep tonight.
Get a small amount of deep tissue body butter (or your own personalized shea butter concoction) and warm it up into your hands. The more you use, the more it will glide. The less you use, the more it will grip.
Warm up the most superficial muscles (the upper traps) by sliding from the shoulders up to the base of the skull and back. This not only brings in new blood flow, but also softens the connective tissue.
Alternate dragging your hands across the back of your neck from side to side. There is an important ligament called the nuchal ligament that runs straight down the back of your neck. This loosens that up.
There are a lot of muscles that start at the top of your scapula and run up the neck. Apply some circular friction into those attachment points.
Use your fingertips to pull from the center of the neck out to the side, crossing over the fibers of those long muscles.
Apply a twisting stretch to either side of the neck by pulling up and back on the base of the skull and forward and down on the shoulder / base of the neck.
Use your thumbs at the base of the skull, working from the center out to your ear, making little circles all the way out.
Intertwine your fingers behind your neck. Let your hands separate slowly and drag out to the sides while you take a deep breath and let your head enjoy its newfound freedom.
Remember that your head and neck are like a bowling ball on top of a toothpick. Those neck muscles do a lot of work holding that bowling ball up all day. Lay your head on a pillow and let all that deep relaxation sink in. I bet you sleep well tonight!
Allison Denney is a Certified Massage Therapist practicing and teaching bodywork out of Long Beach, California. She is also the owner of the YouTube Channel Rebel Massage and creator of Rebel Massage Deep Tissue Body Butter.