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Shoulder and Neck Massage

Topic Overview

A shoulder and neck massage can help you relax, reduce muscle tension, and reduce stress. You will need a friend to exchange massages.

Use these steps to give your friend a shoulder and neck massage.

  1. Have your friend sit straight but comfortably in a chair. Place your hands on your friend's shoulders.
  2. Knead the two muscles on either side of the neck next to the shoulders. Start with very little pressure, then squeeze harder.
  3. Work on the back of the neck.
    • Have your friend lean his or her head forward.
    • Support your friend's forehead firmly with one of your hands. This lets your friend's neck muscles relax.
    • With the thumb and first finger of your other hand, make tiny circles at the base of the skull.
    • Gently squeeze the entire back of the neck. Bring your friend's head up to its normal position.
  4. Use a "thumb crawling" technique.
    • Press both thumbs down, one on the outside of each shoulder.
    • Move them in, pressing firmly at intervals of1.5 cm (0.6 in.) until both thumbs reach the spine at the same time.
    • "Crawl" your thumbs out again to the shoulder joints.
    • Repeat this movement 4 or 5 times.
  5. With one hand on each shoulder, knead the upper back and shoulders. Work your hands away from each other, ending at the upper arms. Then reverse the process by massaging back to either side of the neck.

Credits

Current as ofSeptember 20, 2018

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Donald Sproule, MDCM, CCFP - Family Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Lisa S. Weinstock, MD - Psychiatry

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