We have just completed another great Thai Yoga Massage Level 1 training, and each time I teach this program, or give a massage, I notice that there are certain places in the body that elicit a great response in the client with little effort from the practitioner – and Neck Massage is one of those techniques. Very easy to give, this technique releases the stress and tension from the back of the neck, and works also to relieve the tension that builds up in the upper back and head. This can be a great massage to share at home with friends and family – here’s how you do it:
Have your friend sitting comfortably on a cushion and kneel behind them, sitting on your heels with your knees around their hips with a pillow between your chest and their upper back so you can easily hold them up straight.
Fold their head forward.
Interlock your fingers, elbows wide, and place your palms on the base of the neck on the muscles on either side of the spine
To massage, fold your elbows and palms inwards to apply pressure to the muscles – work your way up from the base of the neck to the base of the skull and back down a few times.
If you want to get fancy, once you have palmed up and down the neck a few times, you can try using your thumbs: keep your fingers interlocked but open your palms wide. Place your pinkie fingers lightly on the back of their head, and use your thumbs to press into the muscles on either side of the spine. Work up and down the neck a few times this way. Remember, thumbs go much deeper than palms, so be light with your pressure to start.
A few considerations:
Everyone is individual in their preference for pressure – start off with light pressure and then ask your friend if they wish to have more pressure.
Try to palm/thumb without rubbing the skin, this can be uncomfortable.
If you are working on a friend with long hair, tie it up, or sweep it around the sides to get it out of your way.
Once you have given a neck massage to your friend, it’s time to switch and receive!