How To Give a Neck and Shoulder Massage

We all love getting a massage. It relaxes our mind, body and spirit. If you feel like helping someone else to relax and feel better, consider giving a neck and shoulder massage.

Step 1

Have your patient get comfortable. Since a neck and shoulder massage is meant to relieve tension and eliminate stress, you want your patient to be in the most comfortable and relaxed position possible when you give him a neck and shoulder massage. He can either choose to sit or lay down during the massage. The most relaxing position is lying down, with a pillow to support the head.

Step 2

Start with the shoulders. Starting on the side of the arm, gently rubs your hands in circles. (This is also known as effleuraging). Move up toward the shoulder and massage in a circular motion to loosen up the muscles. Then hold the shoulder with both of your hands and push it up and down, backwards and forward. Again, this should help to release some tension. As the shoulder starts to relax, use your fingertips to continue the massage. Make circular movements on the shoulders and underneath each shoulder blade. Be sure not to apply too much pressure. It should not be painful for the patient. Next, make a relaxed first and press your knuckles to the shoulders and the midline of the back. Move in circular motions and repeat several times.

Step 3

Move on to the neck. Once you have relaxed the shoulders, you can continue on with a neck massage. Gently grasp the head in your hands and move it side to side. Rub the back of the neck with two or three of your fingers, moving up and down along the nape of the neck. Your patient will really enjoy a neck stretch and you can do this next. Place the head in your hands with your fingers at the bottom of the skull. Lift up the head toward you gently and then lower it. Repeat this several times, making sure that you never overextend the neck. You don't want to pull any muscles, especially in the neck. Then you can loosen up the muscles again by holding the back of the head in one hand and moving it toward a shoulder just a bit. Repeat this on both sides.

Step 4

Cool down with some effleurage. You can end a neck and shoulder massage just as you began. Effleuraging is just a general term for massaging with your whole hand. It's a great relaxation technique after a neck and shoulder massage.

Depending on your comfort level with your patient, you may want to add oil or other aromatics to your neck and body massage. This is available at most grocery stores in the personal care section.


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