Your shoulder and neck muscles need a massage at the end of the day. Particularly if you find yourself in front of a computer anytime during the day. However, going to a spa on a regular basis can be too costly for most of us. Still, it is important for those overworked areas of our body to relax and release tension. These areas need your help! The neck and shoulders are often neglected simply because we think that it takes another person to massage them for us. Self massage is easier than you think and can be done effectively on the neck and shoulders.
It's first important to understand the trapezius muscle. This is the muscle that sits on top of your shoulders connecting your neck. This is one of the neck muscles that usually become the most painful or tense over the course of the work day. This is a very significant muscle as it performs a variety of functions. It moves the shoulder blade towards the spine, moves the shoulder blade up and down, brings the neck and head backwards, and rotates the neck bending it side to side.
The trapezius muscle affects every directional movement of the neck. This means that its tightness or looseness affects your flexibility. If you work at a desk during the day, chances are your "trap" muscle is tense and overworked. You've lost a significant amount of flexibility and by the end of the day you may even develop a headache. Giving your neck and shoulder a self massage is easy and takes about five minutes.
First, locate your "trap" muscle as it is also know. It is a rather large muscle that goes from your neck, across your shoulders, and about half way down your back. For now though, you only need to locate the upper trapezius muscle at the top of the shoulder near where your shoulders and neck meet.
Now cross one arm in front of your body moving it out of the way. Using the other hand, place the palm on the other shoulder where the "trap" muscle is located. Start at the base of the neck and knead the trapezius muscle in a rhythmic motion. Very slowly move toward the arm as you massage. It is important to use enough pressure as you massage to be effective, but still feel comfortable. If your neck is particularly in need of a massage, it can be sensitive to touch and you would need to only apply the appropriate amount of pressure. This massage is meant to be effective, but not overly painful.
Repeat the shoulder and neck massage on the other side. Cross the opposite arm and place the other hand and palm on top of the other shoulder. Knead slowly outward towards the arm. Repeat the kneading process on each shoulder in alternating increments until the trapezius muscle feels relaxed. You should feel the tension in your neck and shoulders slowly dissipate.
This kind of self massage is also effective during the day. If your spending long house sitting at a computer or driving, don't let tension build up. Stop typing or driving for a moment and implement these self massage techniques on your neck and shoulders. It only takes a few minutes and can make a busy day much more enjoyable.