Massaging the Neck
When you massage the neck you are actually massaging a number of different muscles without being to concerned about exactly which muscles you are treating – its more about massaging a particular area. The task is simple: If you find a sore spot it needs to be massaged until you can no longer find any sore areas in the neck. Among other muscles, neck massage covers Levator Scapulae, Sub occipital muscles and Splenius muscles.
The massage of the neck can be divided up into 4 lanes as shown on the picture below. The black dotted line marks the spine of the neck and should not be massaged. It can be identified as a row of small hard bones.
The red lane runs very close to the spine of the neck and can be identified by first finding the spine of the neck and then move 0.5 cm (¼ inch) to either side of it where you will find some soft muscular tissue. This technique can be used all the way down along the spine of the neck.
The blue lane lies rather on the side of the neck than on the back and the top sore spot can be identified just behind the top of the Sterno muscle. You are mainly massaging Levator Scapulae (and part of Trapezius) when following the blue lane and you might feel some pain radiating up to your neck and head. If instead you are experiencing pain radiating downwards to your arms, chest and back you have hit the Scalene muscles and need to move slightly further back.
The yellow and green lanes lie between the red and the blue outer lanes and are identified by moving about 1-2 cm ( 0.5 – 1 inches) towards the middle of the neck piece form either the red or the blue lane.
These 4 lanes are imagined and mostly serve as a map for you to get around and make sure you cover the entire area. If you find sore spots that you think lie between the lanes then you should also treat those.
Only your imagination limits the ways you can press and massage the muscles in your neck. Below however you can see some common techniques to treating the neck. If you have a lot of problems with pain and a lack of strength in your arms then you should support your arm with a big pillow so that your arms can rest once you’ve found a good position.
On the picture below, I am using the arm as a weight and am therefore receiving a pressure in the back of the neck. You can also stretch the arm out completely and use it as a momentum. In this case the backnobber is resting on the chest.
This method is especially good for reaching the spot high on the side of the neck right behind the Sterno.
On this picture I am pushing outwards with the left hand and am therefore receiving a pressure in the back of the neck while the right hand functions as static support for the backnobber. You might want to mix between the two versions.
This one is really good in the angle where the shoulder meets the neck. The pressure can come either from your armpit or from your arm resting on the backnobber.
You can also use your thumb to massage the side of the neck. You are in more control if you press with the surface of your thumb but it can be tough on your finger muscles. Therefore try also to press with the tip of your finger. Also consider using a pillow for support here.