Bodymechanics Massage is proud to present our free tip on neck massage. Most people massage their friend's
neck while they sit in a chair. We suggest that they lay on the floor, face up. Position yourself by sitting on the
floor, behind their head, facing their feet. It will be helpful to use a little bit of vegetable oil as a lubricant
between your hands and their skin. For optimum access to their neck, it will be helpful to have them remove their
shirt and to place a towel or blanket over their chest for comfort and warmth.
Before we begin, it is important to note the areas that can be accidentally injured with too much pressure. The
first is the front of the throat. DON'T ever (without professional training) massage the front of the neck and
throat area. Also, note the white dots on the photo above. These dots indicate the approximate location of the
bones in the neck. These bones, or "processes", point directly out of the sides and out of the back of the neck.
Don't push on these bones with pressure thinking that they are just stubborn spasms.
Begin the massage with gentle pulling motions, alternating hands, squeezing the neck between your thumb and
fingers. The pressure should be placed between the white dots shown above.
Use your fingertips alternately, making circles along both sides of the spine. As you approach the head, gently lift
the neck and head with the fingertips, allowing gravity to slowly glide your fingers along the base of the skull. Use
alternating hands to push on the shoulders, while using the other hand to support the head. Begin probing,
gently, with your thumb between the white dots.
Use your fingers and thumbs to find tight muscles. These will feel like thick spots or bands of tension. Apply
pressure, gently but firmly, to these tight areas and slowly work them out. Always stay in contact with your friend
and see if your pressure is too much or too little. Carefully glide your fingers along the sides of the spine until you
are at the base of the skull and balance the head on your finger tips. If your hands aren't used to this kind of
weight, don't be surprised of this causes your fingers to lockup and cramp. After their head seems to melt under
its own weight into your fingertips, gently make small circles in these muscles.
After you have sufficiently worked the neck areas, begin soft, circular strokes in the temple area. While most
believe that the "temples" only consist of the area next to the ear (center photo above), the temporalis muscle
actually extends in a teardrop pattern beginning at this area and extending back at least four inches along the
sides of the head.
Close the massage with gentle strokes with the thumbs across the forehead, eyebrows, cheeks and chin. Don't
forget to give the ears a little rub with a gentle pulling.
Option for side work...
You can also try working on your friend's neck while they lay on their side. It is important that they have pillows
to bolster their legs and head. Try pulling down on the shoulder, alternating hands and pulling down on the
muscles along the neck's sides. You can also do thumb work from this position and achieve excellent results
because of the advantage of leverage.
I wish you well as you learn to massage. Using your hands to help others can bring incredible satisfaction. Good
luck and practice often.
Robert B. Haase, LMP
Licensed Massage Practitioner
School Founder, Director
Bodymechanics School of Myotherapy & Massage
Olympia, WA - USA