Why wait until you start feeling chronic tension, shoulder stiffness or pain? Our body is the vehicle that takes us through life. Routine maintenance goes a long way in keeping us strong, building body awareness, and reducing the risk of injury. If you haven’t been caring for these areas, start today. This post will introduce you to therapeutic self-myofascial techniques that can easily be done at home after a long day at work to reduce tense shoulder and neck muscles. You will need a foam roller, tennis ball, a light weight, and a stretch band. You may substitute a belt or towel for the stretch band and any handheld home object, such as a full or half filled fabric softener bottle, for the weight.
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It’s important that the techniques are executed in a sequential order. One step is the primer for the next. The video below demos the first steps. Some of the self massage tools I used in this video are the Power Systems Myo-Roller and the TriggerPoint Foam Massage Ball.
Follow the above steps with the techniques in the video below.
In this demo I’m using a stretching technique known as Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF). This technique is commonly used in manual therapies to improve functional ranges of motion and strength. It works through the nervous system to inhibit the target muscle (muscle being stretched, in this case upper trapezius) this will allow it to stretch farther than it normally would.
- Place a towel over the foam rolling tool if it’s too dense, this decreases the intensity.
- Never let these techniques take your breath away, stop immediately if this happens.
- Keep your breath rhythmic and expansive, feel the ribs widening and lifting with the inhale.
- Connect your mind to the area you’re addressing.
This is a great way to reduce the risk of injury and provide tense areas with focused care from the comfort of your own home. If you suffer from any cardiovascular conditions speak to your doctor before attempting this or any other fitness routines.
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Want to learn more about PNF techniques? Click the link below!
Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF): Its mechanisms and effect on range of motion and muscular function: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3588663/
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Certified Fitness Specialist
NYS Licensed Massage Therapist