Have you ever looked in the mirror and noticed that your shoulders were rounded forward? Do you ever feel that ache between your shoulder blades or a stiffness in your neck? Have you tried sitting tall just to notice you’re melting forward again after a few minutes?
One of the main reasons our shoulders roll forward is that our chest muscles are strong and tight. It’s easy to understand that most of what we do is in front of us; therefore, these muscles are getting a workout on a regular basis. They overpower our back muscles, thus pulling our shoulders and arms forward.
It would follow, then, that massaging and stretching your chest will ease some of this tension. And if you’re planning a workout, spend some time on your upper back, conditioning those muscles so they are more in balance with your chest.
The next time your back and neck start to feel tight, look to your chest muscles for relief. Because so much of the time, the pain comes from being overstretched. That’s why we massage the contracted side.
This massage gets to the heart of the issue by opening and stretching your pectoralis muscles so they loosen their grip on your shoulders.
Time needed: 5 minutes
How to open your rounded shoulders with a massage
- Lift your arm out to the side. Bend your elbow so your hand is pointed up toward the sky. Place your other hand on your chest, just below your shoulder.
- Slide your fingers around your pectorals muscles, fingers curling toward your armpit. Grab the muscle with your palm.
This should not be painful. If it is, gently back out, and try adjusting your hand placement. Avoid placing your fingers deep into your armpit, where there are delicate nerves, veins and lymph nodes close to the surface.
- Reach your arm out to stretch your pec muscle under your grip. This is targeting the muscle fibers under your hand, helping accentuate the stretch.
- With your eyes and then your head, look up slightly. Allow your head to follow your gaze: around and away from your outstretched arm. This is further enhancing the stretch on your neck.
- Breathe. Notice the sensations of your muscle stretching. Return your head to center.
- Curl your fingers down and around until your palm is facing upward behind you. Keep your neck long.
- Release your grip and bring both hands down to your sides.
- Raise your arms up to the sky. Bring the palms of your hands together. With gentle but firm pressure between your hands, lower your shoulders. Bring your hands down in prayer position until they are down at your heart. Breathe your shoulders wide and your spine tall.
- Release and relax. You can follow this up with some arm and shoulder circles to strengthen your shoulders.
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