5 Tips For Neck Massages
When preparing for a massage, the following 5 tips for neck massages should help in improving the quality of the massage. Many of us store a lot of tension in our neck, which can be reduced with the help of a decent neck massage. This also helps reduce tension headaches and improve relaxation.
- Always use something to buffer skin to skin contact, especially if massaging the neck for more than a couple of minutes. Skin contact, especially under the pressure of fingers and thumbs, will result in bruising or marking of the sensitive neck area and can actually cause more pain for the massage recipient later. Good options include a water-based lotion, light massage oil, or an analgesic, if the recipient suffers a lot of pain and muscle tension.
- Do not jump full force into a neck massage before warming up the muscles and relaxing the recipient. Forcing more pressure into muscles that are already tense will only result in a bad neck massage. Additionally, if the massage recipient isn’t relaxed and prepared for the muscles to be worked by massage, the muscles will have a tendency to oppose the massage which could result in more pain or bruising. Warm the muscles with a heating pad, hot towel, hot compress, or other method comfortable for the recipient for several minutes before beginning the massage.
- Start slow to avoid causing more pain. Obviously the goal of a good neck massage is to reduce pain, tension, and encourage relaxation so causing more pain would be counterproductive. Just like how you cannot jump right into an intense workout full force without warming up and stretching first, it’s a good idea to start slow, applying light pressure and increase gradually. Regularly check with the massage recipient to ensure the pressure is adequate and comfortable.
- Do not apply too much pressure to a stretched neck muscle. For example, do not have the massage recipient tilt their head to one side, lower their shoulder (pulling the neck from two directions) and then apply a significant amount of pressure to the stretched neck area. This could cause severe and lasting pain. Additionally, do not encourage the massage recipient to stretch muscles in two directions beyond a comfortable point. The recipient could inadvertently pull their own neck muscles causing themselves more pain.
- Do not attempt anything that you are not trained in. Chiropractors and professional massage therapists are trained to adjust bone settings and joints, including the head, neck, and spine. However, if you are not a professional you should refrain from trying to adjust these skeletal structures, especially the head, neck, and spine. With the wrong pressure in the wrong place, permanent damage could be caused. Leave major joint adjustments to the professionals.