As you’ve undoubtedly already noticed, we tend to store tension in our shoulders. Try using this quick and easy massage to relieve that tension and to prevent it from building up throughout the day.
Use your fingers or a massage tool
Using your fingers is the simplest way to do this massage. If you have pain in the shoulder joint, however, you might want to use a tool for reaching the back, such as a Thera Cane® (illustrated on the left).
If you have pain in your hands, you can try a massage hand tool, such as The Knobble. The Knobble allows you to exert pressure without using your fingers. You simply hold it in the palm of your hand. I use one all the time on muscles that are tight.
The advantage of using your hands is that you can massage all the way out to the edge of the shoulder. With a tool, you’ll run into bones before you get that far. And you don’t want to press on bones, only on muscles.
Massage along three lines
The shoulder massage consists of pressing along three lines that run along the top and back of each shoulder. Use your right hand to massage your left shoulder and your left hand for your right shoulder.
The first line is directly on top of the shoulder. Press from the base of the neck out to the shoulder joint. Ideally your fingers will feel an indentation or groove between two parallel sets of muscles. If your shoulders are really tight, though, you won’t (and it’s a good thing you’re doing this massage).
It’s easier to locate the second line if you know where the third line is. Reach onto your back and feel for the bone of the shoulder blade. The third line is just above this bone (not on the bone). The second line is halfway between the first and third lines. To massage the second and third lines, start close to (but not on) the spine and work your way out to the shoulder joint.
The bone that you feel on your back is the spine of the shoulder blade, which you can see in the diagram. The top portion of the shoulder blade is covered with muscles. It’s these muscles you massage when you move along the third line.
Incidently, the three lines of points in the illustration are not acupressure points. They are merely meant to indicate where you should massage.
Do both sides and repeat
Massage these three lines on one shoulder, then repeat on the other shoulder. I’d recommend massaging each shoulder twice. One side may be tighter (and more painful) than the other, and you may want to give that side more frequent attention.
If you have the time, it’s always a good idea to relax an area of muscle tension before holding an acupressure point, such as the one in the next post: The most important point for shoulder tension.