Learning how to give a good neck and shoulder massage requires the right set-up to allow for the massage recipient’s privacy and comfort. Reduce distractions or sudden loud sounds, such as cell phones, which can reduce the relaxing qualities of a neck and shoulder massage. Apply heat through the use of a hot towel or heating pad for about 10 minutes before beginning to help loosen and relax the muscles.
- Apply a small amount of massage product to hands and rub together to warm the product. Ideally, a light massage oil or massage lotion works best. Choose one that has no scent or is lightly scented to avoid irritating the recipient’s skin and overwhelming the recipient with a strong scent.
- Begin applying very light pressure with fingertips and thumb near the base of the neck and work outward over the shoulders. Then work back towards the base of the neck and finally up the neck toward the hairline. Then continue working gently back and forth to avoid applying consistent pressure to one area at a time.
- Gradually increase the pressure applied through the fingertips and thumb as you continue working along the neck and shoulders. From time to time ask the massage recipient if the pressure is okay, or not enough, and gradually increase or decrease to reach the best level for that recipient.
- After several minutes of working the muscles at the maximum comfortable pressure, begin to gradually decrease pressure. Continue working along the muscles of the neck and shoulder throughout the massage and continue decreasing pressure back to the beginning level. This keeps the massage from starting or stopping suddenly which can irritate some muscles, or some massage recipients.