Tag Archives: neck stretching

Massage Technique Video: Myofascial neck spreading/stretching

This one’s a simple myofascial spreading technique for the neck and chest:

I use two hand tools for this—a loose fist to glide up the neck, and a palm to spread the upper chest tissue laterally. Make sure to use broad, slow pressure with both, and to conform your tools to the changing landscape underneath them.

I prefer this over traditional neck stretches taught in massage classes. It still gives the client a deep feeling of stretch, but it keeps them within their comfortable range of motion. As long as you work broadly and slowly, you can use firm pressure without compromising the sensitive tissues in the cervical region. Let me know what your clients think! Like I say in the video, I’ve found it to be a real crowd-pleaser 🙂 ... continue reading.

Massage Video: 5 Massage Methods I’ve Abandoned

New instructional video! This one’s on five massage practices that I no longer make use of:

Why? Some of them were a little more trouble than they were worth. As much as I love psoas work, for example, it takes a good 10 minutes of my session if I give it the time and consideration it deserves. I’ve found that I can accomplish much with low back and hip pain by working with related structures. While I don’t always contact psoas, I know that by working with its synergists and antagonists, I’m having a wide-ranging effect.

Some of my old methods may have even been causing harm. The extreme neck stretches/massage that I learned in many continuing education courses (and that I see in many YouTube videos) are asking a LOT from a collection of rather delicate and sensitive structures. As I say in the video, side effects from this work can range from pain to syncope, and there’s even a chance for tissue trauma in vulnerable clients. Does this mean I don’t work with the neck? Heck no, I can spend a good half hour there 🙂 I just work within existing ROM, and avoid techniques that might compromise the local nervous and vascular tissue. I’ll have a demonstration of a good myofascial technique for working with neck ROM up soon. ... continue reading.

Massage Malady #5: Cervical Sadism

If you’ve read my writing or watched my videos, you know that I love the neck. I fearlessly grasp sternocleidomastoid, I’ll draw the scalenes in as I work the traps, and I’ll happily give the local fascia a stretch with a slow, soft fist. I know there’s a lot of nervous, vascular, and lymphatic tissue present, but the neck is a robust structure full of feel-good muscle, begging to be explored. If you deal with it mindfully, you can really offer the client a new experience of a structure that has previously only caused them pain, or that they think of as the place where they “hold their stress.”

But… there are limits. That brings us to today’s massage malady: “Cervical Sadism.”


This is rarely seen with actual massage techniques: People tend to respect the anterior and lateral neck’s potential vulnerability by being careful with it, or even avoiding it altogether! While that’s not great, at least it’s erring on the side of caution. Conversely, this particular problem is characterized by a blithe disregard for the neck’s normal range of motion. ... continue reading.