Selfmassage Of The Neck

Most of the inverted postures place unusual stresses on the neck, and am < ie who spends a lot of time with them should coddle the associated mus< s, ligaments, and bony structures One way is to administer some si f-

massage by pressing the neck down against the same 8 1/2 inch playgroi id ball discussed in connection with passive backbending in chapter 5.

Start by placing the ball under your upper shoulders just below the n. >e of the neck at Ti. From that position you can roll the body down so that I ie ball is in contact with successively higher regions of the neck and he I.

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ending with the back of the skull where the strap muscles insert on the occipital region of the cranium. Or you can start in the middle and work both down and up. Starting in the mid-cervical region, you can either press your weight straight backward into the ball or twist the neck one way or the other while pressing the head to the rear. The former will affect the insertions and origins of muscles that attach to the back of the head and to the spinous processes of the vertebrae; the latter will massage muscles whose tendons attach both to spinous processes and to transverse processes. In either case you will be manually stimulating the Golgi tendon organs and relaxing their associated muscles.

In company with the resistance neck exercises, this self-massage not only strengthens and relaxes the neck, it also gives you effective feedback as to right-left imbalances. You will sense differences in tenderness or mobility on the two sides, and this will enable you to plan a more effective practice. After you have toughened up the joints, muscles, and ligaments, and after you have adapted to an 8 1/2 inch playground ball, you can graduate to a harder volleyball, soccer hall, or basketball, which is where wrestlers and bodybuilders can begin.

No matter what your stage of practice, as you become familiar with the sensations created by the resistance neck exercises and self-massage with a playground ball, you will gain more sensitivity to the inverted postures that you need to approach with caution as well as to those you can approach with more enthusiasm. These are great exercises for engendering self-awareness.

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