How to Massage a Neck to Ease Aches and Pains

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As far as achy body parts go, few can beat the neck. Sure, it’s tough and durable. It does have to hold up your noggin every day, after all. Have you ever wondered if you could pick up a few handy tricks for how to massage a neck?

How to Massage a Neck

Individuals learn how to massage a neck using different approaches, such as deep tissue massages and the more popular Swedish massage techniques referenced by Lauren Saglimbene.

Many people seek professionals for their massage needs. However, it’s definitely possible for an amateur to learn how to massage a neck.

Hands on head, neck massage

Safety First

Keep in mind that some methods may cause pain if performed incorrectly. If the person being massaged is dealing with an injury, professional treatment is advisable.

Have a Sit-Down

According to Billy L. Osorio, a seated massage can work wonders and provides a good template for how to massage a neck.

The basics include a massage recipient who sits with a straight, comfortable posture. The person can either sit in a chair or cross-legged on the floor, perhaps with a mat for comfort.

First, you’ll stand behind the recipient if you’re massaging the neck of another person. You will position yourself slightly to the left or right, depending on which side is your focus.

Light but firm is the name of this game.

Hand strokes should be given with a soft touch. Those areas where firmed-up knots seemingly appear are a different story. Prolonged pressure for about 30 seconds along these trigger points should do the trick.

Just like any muscle workout, a good massage requires a warm-up. In learning how to massage a neck, you can begin by placing your three interior fingers at the spot where head and neck join. Then, you can glide those fingers from your starting point to the shoulders.

As you work your way down, you should apply even pressure with your fingertips along the neck, remembering to stay light and firm.

When you do reach those knotted areas, bust out the thumbs. Apply slightly more pressure to those areas with circular, kneading motions.

Using one hand (with the thumb on one side of the neck and the fingers on the other) will help stabilize your hand and allow you to maintain the right amount of pressure. Widening your hand will also help adjust the pressure.

Laying It on the Table

For that famed massage parlor experience in the “how to massage a neck” handbook, you’ll have your massage recipient lie belly-down.

This type pairs best with massage oil, so choose a suitable type like coconut or sesame oil.

To kick things off, you’ll put the bottoms of your palms along the neck’s sides. The index finger will span the neck, while the thumb goes below the neck.

Next, you’ll apply similar pressure as you applied with the sitting position massage, from ears to shoulders. Pull those fingers up a little during your motions, and neck muscles should loosen even more.

woman massage

Extra Tips and Tricks

As for self-massage, advocates like Pain Doctor recommend taking slow, deep breaths before gently squeezing the neck and moving the head left to right.

Foam rollers, golf balls, and tennis balls encompass some of the popular devices you can introduce to your “how to massage a neck” routine. You can even purchase specialized massage devices.

Why Should I Learn Neck Massage?

Neck massages have a host of benefits. They can relieve everyday aches and also alleviate chronic pain.

Joints are lubricated, the lymphatic system gets a lift, stiff muscles are elongated, and relaxation replaces stress. According to Dr. Shaina McQuilkie, some research shows you could even get a better night’s sleep.

Make neck massages a part of your fitness routine, and you might just have an anywhere, anytime fix for what ails you most.

Do you have your own ideas on how to massage a neck? Share away in the comments.


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