5 Neck Massage Therapy Tips
5 neck massage therapy tips can come in real handy when trying to alleviate tension or strain. Strain and tension from poor posture, hunched over work conditions, or stress can lead to chronic neck pain and, in some, headaches. Whether performed on oneself or one another, the following tips will prove helpful.
- Be careful where pressure is applied. The best of intentions with a neck massage can be undermined by inflicting or aggravating pain. If the head and neck cannot comfortably stretch or move in certain positions, they should not be forced. Additionally, fingers and thumbs can apply a great deal of pressure with minimal effort. Care should be taken when applying targeted pressure to this delicate area.
- Apply heat to loosen the muscles first. Applying heat through a heating pad or even a hot towel can help reduce the pain, loosen muscles up, and prepare for a more effective neck massage.
- Use a massage oil, lotion, or analgesic to reduce friction and facilitate massage therapy efforts. Skin on skin contact causes friction which can inadvertently result in friction burns and marks on the skin, bruising, and residual pain. To reduce the potential for friction burns from a massage, use a small amount of massage oil, lotion, or analgesic such as Bengay to allow the massager’s hands and fingers to work muscles efficiently.
- Test for sensitivity before applying analgesic or scented massage oil. This is very important because if the massage recipient has an allergy or sensitivity to the fragrance in a massage oil or lotion, or if the analgesic contains substances that irritate the recipient’s skin or increase discomfort, the good intentions behind the neck massage go right out the window. To test for sensitivity, apply a small amount of the product to the inner part of the recipient’s wrist or elbow and wait a few minutes. If no reaction occurs, apply a small amount to the neck area and massage in lightly, but wait again to see if there is a reaction. Sometimes the reaction is simply discomfort or burning from the menthol ingredients in some analgesic creams.
- Encourage the massage recipient to relax to help loosen muscles and enable a more effective massage. A cup of herbal tea, comfortable room temperature, soothing music or nature sounds, and non-fluorescent lighting can help create a relaxed environment. Additionally, try to eliminate disruptive sounds such as cell phones ringing, dogs barking, children playing (or screaming), TV background noise, and so forth.