Sunday, June 8, 2008

Chest and Neck Massage

I am always surprised by the number of people who carry tension in their chests. Bad posture; sitting cramped over a desk; hunching over a steering wheel; certain sports, such as golf; and illnesses such as asthma, can all cause strain and tension in chest muscles. The chest muscles shorten and contract, causing the muscles in the upper back to become overstretched. This results in rounded shoulders and tight, inflexible muscles in the neck and shoulders. Massage can really help to stretch and relax the chest muscles, and thus alleviate aching in the upper back and neck. Working on the muscles between the ribs can help to straighten out the shoulders.

Get it off your chest

The ideal time to do a chest massage is before you massage the face but it also fits in naturally after a back or stomach massage, or after massage, or after massaging one arm, and before the other. Your partner should lie on his or her back and you should stand or kneel behind the head. Some people like to put a small cushion or a thick book, such as a phone book (thick but not too hard) ; under the head to allow complete relaxation of the neck. Since it is difficult to relax the chest and neck unless the shoulders are relaxed too, I always include the shoulders in a chest and neck massage.

Stretching the shoulders

Cup your hands around both shoulders and gently push them down toward the feet. Lean your weight onto the shoulders, keeping your arms straight. First push both arms down together, then alternately. Our shoulders tend to hunch up toward our ears as we become tense, and the gentle downward pressure counteracts this habit, helping stretch and loosen the chest muscles and release tension. Throughout the chest massage, whenever your hands stroke over the shoulders, give them a gentle push down toward the feet.

Robin is a home remedies and fitness expert. In his spare time, Mr. Robin write for herbal medicines and alternative medicines.

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