Massage expert Tracie Bell demonstrates how to give a neck massage.
Hi, my name is Tracy Bell and we are demonstrating a full body Swedish massage today, and right now we're going to be working with the neck.
So, in giving a neck massage you want to be very careful around the cervical region, which is the back of the -- which is the vertebrae that run down the back of your neck. Now, you don't have to be so careful that you're not really getting in there and giving her the massage that you really want to give her. You're just being careful that you're not dropping the head all over the place, you just want to be able to move it nice and gently to either side, and don't worry, you won't hurt anyone if that's not what your intention is. So, you just want to apply a small amount of massage oil because you're working on a small area, and you can rub it in with your hands. If you have a little bit too much massage oil on your hands you can always wipe it on the table, going across the top of the shoulder area. Now, giving a neck massage you're going to be mainly working in the neck area, but you can also bring your stroke down to either end of the shoulder to make it feel more full and complete. So, making sure that your arms are nice and level with the table. You can lift up the head, and your hands are going to be like this, scooping and catching, always giving the neck support. If you want to give the neck a little stretch you can hold on to the shoulder and pull the neck to either side, allowing for a small stretch of this trapezius or some scalings.
You can come back to thinner and allow your hands to naturally wrap around the person's neck, always giving support underneath the back of the head and the middle of the neck. While holding the head you can do small focus strokes with your fingers on the back of the neck, be very careful not to apply pressure to the vertebrae going up from the bottom of her head down her spine. Now, after you've completed a few strokes, you can turn the head to one side and start with smaller, more focused strokes on the posterior part of the neck or the back of the neck. Now, this entire area in the front is another danger zone, you don't want to put a whole lot of pressure with thumbs or fingers on the front of the neck. So, I'm making sure that I maintain nice, even small circular strokes along the lateral and posterior aspect or the side in the back of her neck. Starting off with small thumb strokes. If I want to I can bring in a soft fist and allow my hand to contour the side of her neck, now putting a whole lot of pressure but enough, checking with your client, making sure the pressure is okay. Is the pressure okay?
Making sure that when you're bringing your fists down the side of her neck and you kind of run into her clavicle, you dont want bone against bone, so you kind of let your fingers just smooth out and run softly over the clavicle and shoulder area. You can get in there and do a few kneading strokes with your thumb and your fingers. You can do broader strokes of the posterior aspect of the neck or the back of the neck, allowing your fingers to naturally contour with the person's body, being relaxed, letting your shoulders draw out, and allowing your strokes to be nice and flow even leading down to the shoulder. You can bring your hands up the back of the neck again, slowly grabbing it and bringing the head back to center, and then massaging the posterior or the back of the neck. Then ending with the more strokes going towards the back of their head, being very careful that you don't get behind the ears, there is small bone there called the hyoid bone, and you don't want to enter that, so you're making sure that you're not putting a lot of pressure there as well. Bringing the stroke all the away to the back of the skull, right on that ledge, and slowly leaning back and give another small stretch.
You can end the neck massage with a couple of more stretches of the trapezius and upper shoulder and neck area, and then of course letting her head tilt back into your fingertips, angling her neck off so that you encourage the natural curvature of her cervical spine.
In our next segment we will be learning how to massage the feet.