4 Muscles to Massage for Tension Relief
Updated: May 12, 2021
Hi, hello! What an amazing fall we have in the District this year 🍁🎃 I kicked off October this weekend with these tiny cake-like pumpkin spice cookies topped with cream cheese frosting for our first taste of fall (it's only Tuesday and Naomi + I low-key already ate 90% of them. It's fine, we're fine, I'm going to start a fall running program someday soon...).
My offering for you today: 4 massages for a stressful workday. We will start with our hands and work our way up. Enjoy =)
Hand: Thenar Webspace
Have you said thank you to your thumbs today? You ought to; texting, typing, grabbing anything at all . . . where would you be without this little digit? Also, random fact, your thumb is the most mobile finger. Have you even thought about that?
The primary muscles responsible for gripping and movement are actually at the base of your thumb in that soft space between your index finger + thumb called the thenar eminence + thenar webspace. Overuse of these muscles *could* cause neurovascular compression and symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome and there is evidence that this spot is an acupressure point to help relieve headaches 💆.
Forearm: Extensor Digitorum
Do you: type, golf, write, handstand, tattoo, rake leaves, bike, hold things, or do anything at all
with your hands? You will be surprised how tender your forearms are!
Your other 4 digits are controlled by the extensor digitorum (et al, but this is the captain👩✈️). You can palpate this area with your thumb (small, slow circles going up the arm from wrist to the muscular point below elbow) or use a kitchen utensil! Key here is to avoid anything bony.
As the name implies, our little friends the levator scapulae elevate the shoulder blades. A
majority of people I work with have trigger points and pain here, including myself 🤨. Because what happens when you are stressed out or hunched forward all day? Those upper back muscles are working harder than my heater on a cold Minnesota night.
**Please be careful here, near your cervical spine. Start slowly and palpate lightly the first day, 1 minute max, to see how it feels. A lot of receptors are located in this area. If you have any neck issues or concerns whatsoever, please skip this and work with a professional in person**
**Note** my first point, draw a circle with your shoulders, as I demonstrate, to work deeper
Origin: transverse process of the first 4 cervical vertebrae
Insertion: superior angle + medial boarder of the scapulae
**Palpate your way up from the insertion towards the origin, but do not press too close to the vertebrae**
Did you know your head can weigh as much as a 10 lb bowling ball? Now consider how you hold
your head most of the day to stare at your computer, look down at your book on the subway, while driving your car... The suboccipitals are working all. day. LONG.
You can use a spread technique, small and slow circles with your fingers or a press and drop your head back. Again, please do so with CAUTION.
**Please be careful here, near your cervical spine. Start slowly and palpate lightly the first day, 1 minute max, to see how it feels. There are a lot of receptors located in this area. If you have any neck issues or concerns whatsoever, please skip this and work with a professional in person **
There you have it! I hope this eases some of your stress, and gives you a good 5 minute break!
Be safe + healthy!