How to Massage Your Neck

Try It on Yourself - or Ask a Friend

Neck Massage
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Self Neck Massage

Trapezius and other neck muscles get very tight, very quickly, especially in office workers and people who take their stress in their shoulders.  If this is you, you may also notice that your neck and shoulder movement has become limited.  When there's no one around with whom you feel comfortable enough to ask for a massage, you'll have to take care of it yourself.  Here's a simple self massage technique that will likely take you less than 5 minutes to do and is very easy to learn.

More Neck Muscles:  The Levator Scapula - Learn about Stretch Type Tension

How to Massage Your Neck Muscles (Particularly the Trapezius)

The first step is to accurately locate your trapezius muscle. This is a big muscle with three different parts in three different areas of your back.  Actually, it spans from the bottom of your skull, goes across your shoulders and down most of your back  

But for this technique, you need only locate the upper portion (which is at the top of the shoulder.)  This part of the trapezius muscle is called the upper trapezius (or upper traps, for short.)

Cross one arm in front of your body so that you can place the palm of your hand on top of the other shoulder.  This area is the main focus of the technique.

Now that you've identified the main area you'll be working, locate the attachment of the upper traps.  This is on the bottom of your skull, close to the center.

 You can even trace the muscle down the back of your neck to the place where the shoulders start to widen out.

If you get lost, try to locate the vertebra at the base of your neck (in back) that kind of sticks out.  That's called C-7 and is one of the upper trapezius's attachment sites.  On either side of that bump, you can walk your fingers on either up or down the muscle and locate the areas mentioned above.

Trapezius Self-Massage Technique

Beginning at the base of the neck, knead the muscles, almost as though you were kneading bread dough.  Work with a rhythmic action, moving out toward the arm in increments. Use a pressure that is deep enough to make a difference, but still feels good. In the field of massage therapy, we call this "the good hurt."  Repeat 2-3 times on that side and then do it again on the other shoulder.  

And here is one very important key to getting this self-massage technique down:

  • Relax and enjoy!

Related:  How to Do a Neck Roll

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