Before we look at the benefits of a neck massage, we need to look at the muscles of the neck. Because without understanding how these interact with an increase in pressure around the shoulder areas and the trigger points of the shoulder and other parts of our anatomy, it’s impossible to truly understand how a neck massage can help you. Both in terms of cognition and brain functioning, and general comfort — or avoiding discomfort.
So here goes.
As you can see from this image, your neck is constructed of a series of small, thin strands of muscle. Therefore, when you run your hand over your neck when it’s tight, you will feel these fibres as lumps and bumps under your skin.
These muscles are under constant strain, holding up our head, which on average weighs around 5kg of constantly moving weight.
If you look at a tree which needs to sway in the wind without breaking, it grounds the trunk into roots which splay out into the ground at the bottom.
Our body works similarly, connecting our thin neck muscles to a larger fan like muscle which spreads out over our shoulders and anchors down our spine.
Whilst this works great for meaning our head doesn’t roll off our shoulders, it also means that as soon as this way larger muscle becomes tight or in any way damaged, it’s easy for our neck to be pulled out of alignment. This results in us suffering with neck pain.
And this is how a neck massage from a qualified and experienced professional massage therapist has benefits.
Why shouldn’t I get a neck massage from a less qualified or experienced massage therapist?
As you can see from the image below, there are a ton of nerves and arteries running in and out of our neck, feeding our brain and taking the commands from our brain around the rest of our body. A neck massage from your partner, or using one of the neck massagers on the market, can feel great. But they come with an inherent risk. You run the risk of doing some damage if you press the wrong part of your neck.
Even if it feels like you’re relieving tension in a particular spot with just the perfect pressure, you may inadvertently catch another area with your fingers, and what starts out as a relaxation therapy, can quickly turn into a bigger problem.
You could even damage the blood flow to tissues whilst trying to relieve knots and stress. And then a headache is the least of your worries. It’s not uncommon for people to end up having a stroke after a bad neck massage.
Seriously. It’s no joke.
How many people do you know who apply pressure to their neck and end up in more pain?
So, if I want to give myself a neck massage, what advice do you have?
Put no firm massage on an area. You’re looking to only stroke the muscles with your thumbs and palms of your hands.
If this light, fingertip and thumb pressure doesn’t reduce your pain, then you can use some stretch techniques. Be sure to do this for long enough. And don’t just whip your head around from one side to the next, or even in a circular motion. That will cause more damage to the slight areas that connect the joints into your skull (suboccipital) and could cause even more headaches and problems.
My therapist will ball their fist and massage in a rolling motion, isn’t that dangerous?
Not if your therapist has studied anatomy and physiology as we have done at Essential Feeling in Romford. This is because we know where we’re heading with our pressure and the physical structure of your neck underneath your skin into the deeper layers of tissues.
What are the symptoms that I need a neck massage?
*A general tightness in the area or a stiffness across your shoulders
*Headaches and tension around your eyes. This can even run into your jaw.
*A crunching of the bones in your neck, either chronic or acute can be a sign that you need a neck massage because the muscles which surround small bones may be pulling them so the bones grind.
*Reduced nerve sensation may improve from a neck massage, but this very much depends on the deeper cause. This isn’t a fail-safe.
*If you’re suffering with mental stress, it’s often easier to relax after a gently relaxing neck massage.
What steps can I take to avoid needing a neck massage?
Our modern life is geared firmly towards us suffering with neck pain. Our shoulders are constantly up around our ears from a combination of stress, computer work and driving. Reducing this kind of static activity or moving around more frees up this tension and prevents the fibres from sticking in the wrong position. But, if that were possible, we’d all be doing it already.
Life and commitments don’t allow for us to be allowing continuous motions throughout the course of a busy day.
Perhaps you could do some types of stretching whilst you sit at your desk or in traffic? If you remember.
It may be possible to move your arms out of a static position which will help release how tense these connecting muscles are with a knock on effect on your neck.
Beyond this, you’re looking at treatment from a neck massage, we’re afraid. But it can be an enjoyable experience. And if you have them regularly, you will actually avoid injury because your muscles won’t ever become so tight that they cause you issues.
Book your neck massage online now.
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