How is your neck feeling? I’m asking because I know there are more than enough stressors around these days.
Stress often shows up on your neck and make it tight and stiff. You may be spending more time looking down at your device and that doesn’t help. This week I’m going to show you 9 ways to massage your own neck and 1 trick to prevent the forward neck or text neck.
Just so you know, I am doing Marie Kondo on my YouTube channel. If you don’t know her she has books and TV series on Netflix called Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. It’s a spring cleaning of your closed and stuff around you but it’s really your life and with a goal of being surrounded with only what gives you joy. If you haven’t seen the show or read the book, I highly recommend it if you want to clear the clutter, get rid of baggage and create the space for the good energy to flow in.
Anyways, over the last 10 years I’ve published 510 videos. If anyone has seen all 510 videos, I thank you and I love you. There are quite a few videos that don’t give me joy for different reasons. So I am consolidating self neck massage videos and re-edited them. You will see me in younger form with no visible gray hair. I felt like I was in a time capsule re-editing these.
1.Thumb Circle Base of the Skull
The first one is massaging the base of the skull. Locate the base of the skull between the ears. Grab your own head, hook your thumbs and make small circles on the base of the skull. Move side to side to massage different spots. Your neck muscles attach to the base of the skull and often people don’t know this area is very tight. It helps to loosen the attachment site to loosen the neck muscles.
2. Crack the Nut
The second one is Crack the Nut. Weave your fingers behind your neck and squeeze the neck muscles with the base of your thumbs. Go up and down the neck.
3. Ice Pick Neck
The third one is Ice Pick Neck. Weave your fingers except your thumbs and squeeze the neck muscles with the tip of your thumbs. You can target more specific spots. Try different width and go up and down the neck.
4. Curled Finger Pull – Front
Bring your right hand across the body and grab the left side of the neck. Tilt your head forward and to your right. Curl your fingers and pull the neck muscles downward. Use the entire arm not just your finger strength to pull the neck muscles downward.
Go up and down all the way between the neck and shoulder. If you find a tight spot, curl your fingers even more and dig in with your fingertips. Or hold the spot and move your neck from side to side.
5. Curled Finger Pull – Back
Bring your right hand behind your neck and grab the left side of your neck. Again with curled fingertips, grab the left neck muscles. Tilt your head forward and pull the neck muscles downward towards the spine. Go up and down the neck and if you find a tight spot, dig in with curled fingertips or hold the spot and move your neck.
6. Palm Squeeze
Simply grab the neck muscles with your palm and squeeze your palm as you go up and down the neck. If you want to target the muscles closer to the spine, use your thumb and closed fingers to pinch and squeeze.
7. Rolling Pin
If you have long fingernails or weak hands, I recommend using tools such as this rolling pin. This is from 99 cent store and it’s dedicated for massaging.
To massage the right side, grab it with the right palm facing away and left palm facing you. Tilt you head forward and roll up and down the neck. Try different angles. Don’t forget to massage the base of the skull where the neck muscles attach.
Switch the hold to do the other side. To massage the left side, grab it with the left palm facing away and right palm facing you. Roll up and down the left side of your neck in different angles. You can do this easily while you watch TV without tiring your hands or fingers. Don’t forget to massage the base of the skull.
To increase the pressure, grip firmer, slow down and use the arm weight. To reduce the pressure, lighten up the grip.
If you have a headache, I recommend you only roll down the neck and not up the neck. The headache may be caused by the pressure built up in your head. If you roll up you are promoting more pressure into the head. So if you have a headache, just roll down the neck to alleviate the pressure from the head.
8. Single Lacrosse Ball
Besides the rolling pin, Lacrosse ball is a wonderful massage tool. Lacrosse ball is a very dense hard rubber ball. You can massage with one ball or two balls. I like good pressure so I always use a lacrosse ball but if this is too hard use a tennis ball which is softer.
Starting with a single ball
Sit comfortably and place a ball in the middle of the base of the skull where there is a depression. Put both hands on the top of the ball and drop your head forward and just let the gravity do its job as you take deep breaths. Then slowly move the ball up and down and side to side. You are now massaging the suboccipital muscles. Occiput is the back of the skull and suboccipital muscles are a group of eight muscles that connect the first two vertebrae called atlas and axis and the skull. These muscles can have trigger points that cause the headache from above the eye all the way to the side of the head. Roll the ball ten times at a time and do it six times throughout the day. This point is also an acupressure point known as GV 16 or Governing Vessel 16 and it’s good for neck pain, headaches, nosebleeds, and sore throat.
Move the ball further to the side and you may find it really sore or even painful. You just went over the attachment of trapezius and deep neck muscle under trapezius called semispinalis capitis. Semispinalis capitis also can have trigger points that cause the headache on the side of your head above the ears.
Slowly roll the ball up and down and side to side to release the trigger points. Roll the ball ten times at a time and do it six times throughout the day. When you roll your ball little further there is another depression next to trapezius.
This is acupressure point called GB 20 or Gallbladder 20. This point is good for headache, migraines, stiff neck, neck pain, eyestrain. Press the GB 20 point as you breathe deeply.
Now that you know these points, even better way to massage them is to lie on your back with the ball and let the head weight do its job. Hold it with one hand to start with. Instead of moving the ball roll your head up and down and side to side. Use your left hand for the left side of the neck. And use your right hand for the right side of the neck. If you dare, use both hands to really increase the pressure.
9. Double Lacrosse Balls
Now with two balls. I think this homemade massage device is still the best. Basically, you put two lacrosse balls in a sock and tie the end. Here’s how I massage my neck with this tool.
Put the balls on each side of the neck and squeeze in a circular motion. This feels just like what the massage chair does. What I love about this massage tool is the flexibility. You can stretch it apart to target different areas.
If your arms get tired, you can just give short strokes on the tight spots on both sides, or one side at a time. If your arms are really tired, just hold the balls and tilt your head to the sides and rotate your neck.
There are massage tools that look like two lacrosse balls infused together but I like this one because it has a flexibility to adjust the space between the balls and use it as you see it fit for your body and take out one to massage with.
So these were the self neck massage techniques. In case you didn’t know, I have Couples Massage Courses online for those with partners. It’s a great way to spend your quality time learning how to massage each other at home especially if you’re stuck at home or if your massage place is closed. I share techniques over the clothes so you can practice anywhere anytime even in front of your kids, or at the airport once you can go to places. You can check out the free video eBook on how to massage your partner from head to toe from the link here and/or below.
How to Prevent Forward Neck (Text Neck)
Finally, one trick to prevent the neck pain from forward neck or text neck. Did you know that when you push your head forward by 1 inch, it adds 10 extra pounds on your neck? That’s a lot of weight because your head is already heavy at around 11 lbs even if it acts like it’s filled with bunch of air at least in my case.
In order to keep your head up straight and not moving forward, this is what you do. You push your tongue against the back of the upper teeth and part of the upper jaw. This tightens the root of the tongue which is pretty big compared to the visible part of the tongue. You can feel this under the jaw. While this it tightened, it’s very hard to push your head forward. You can try this with and without pushing your tongue against the back of your teeth and roof of your mouth.
Massage Monday #511 9 Ways to Massage Your Own Neck http://bit.ly/mm-511