As a rule, the shoulders and neck are our most problematic parts of the body. Both teleworkers and office-based clerks forget to get out of their chairs and spend the whole days staring the computer screens and feel pain in the shoulders and neck. The right massage deals with this issue easily.

How to Massage Shoulders

Shoulder and neck massage ease headache pain and has a positive effect on the body.

Learn how to massage the neck and collar zone for you could do it every evening to please your beloved one tired after a hard day’s work.

Check out my Molblly mattress reviews.

What is the Reason for Shoulder Pain?

  • Mental, physical or emotional stress provokes muscle tension and pain the neck, the back, and shoulders.
  • Spending a long time looking at the computer screen without even stretching or changing positions decrease blood circulation, so ripple pain with fatigue appear.
  • Lifting heavy objects for a long time or doing too intense workout also strain shoulders.
  • Bad posture also causes pain. Your head is heavy enough and the spine can’t adequately support it if they are not aligned together. Your muscles bear the burden, that results into a strain injury. This may happen if you lean your head forward sitting at the computer, or if you hold your phone with one shoulder for too long.
  • Tired neck and shoulder muscles grab and glue to each other. These “knots” affect the motion range and cause distress.
  • Too soft mattress. The most common symptom of a bed that’s too soft is a stiff and sore lower back. Choose the best pillow top mattress with firmness you need.

How Does Massage Relieve the Pain in Neck and Shoulders?

It does it in 2 ways:

  1. Massage helps to improve the circulation of nerve impulses and blood in this area. Muscle tension means constant muscle contraction. The muscles burn oxygen and create a great number of metabolic waste irritating the nerves. Massage improves blood circulation increasing nutrient and oxygen supply to the muscles and removing the lactic acid. So the muscles relax and the pain goes away.
  2. Increase the serotonin level in the body. The serotonin stops the transmission of pain signals to your brain. It decreases pain healing the shoulder muscles.

Best Way To Massage Shoulders



  • Consult with a physician or a professional masseur. If the individual has a recent and unexplained pain in the shoulders, don’t start massaging as it may worsen the condition.
  • Always pay attention to the person’s feedback. You may cause extra discomfort if apply too much pressure.
  • Don’t massage bony areas. Spine bones are very sensitive to pain. Work with the areas around them, but not right above.
  • You may also harm your wrists and hands during the massage process. To prevent it, use proper mechanics – don’t strain your shoulders, using your own weight to apply pressure, relax your wrist and hands between movements. Your body and your hand motions should be synchronized.
  • Deliver massage every 7-28 days to keep shoulders healthy. For those having chronic pain, massage is recommended 1-2 times per 7 days.
  • If the pain is caused by a serious disease, it’s much better to ask for help a professional therapist.

A Step-By-Step Guide

The patient lies on his stomach on a flat surface. His head should be turned to the side. The procedure begins with the shoulder that is opposite to the side in which the head is turned. After massaging one shoulder, the patient turns his head to the other side, after this the massage is performed on the second shoulder.

If this position is impossible the client may sit on a chair, leaning on its back. In this case, the back should be straight and you should get shoulders and upper back easily. The back of the chair must be low enough to give you access to the back of the shoulders.

If you don’t have the chair of this kind available, the client should sit cross-legged on the ground with you behind him.

You will need:

  1. massage oil or lotion – 20-30 ml (grape seed oil, olive oil, jojoba oil or coconut oil). Make sure your client doesn’t have any allergies before using specific oils. Add a few drops of essential oils if you wish – lemon, lavender or bergamot (2-3 drops per 10 ml of essential oil);
  2. two medium size towels. To cover the space where the person lies and the second one is to cover the person;
  3. paper napkins to remove excess oil;
  4. candles or aroma lamp for a pleasant smell;
  5. quiet and relaxing music;
  6. phones should be disabled;
  7. ask the person to take a shower before the session;
  8. heat the oil in hot water or rubbing it between your hands;
  9. wash your hands in warm water before the massage;
  10. tie long hair back;
  11. choose a comfortable position for yourself.

Lets Start:

  • Lift muscles. Intense massaging before you warm the muscles up can cause your client to tense up even more under your touch. Apply some oil to your hands. You also may add more oil during the session. The masseur starts kneading the muscles located in the area of the shoulder blade сompressing their individual sections. Form your hands into “lobster claws” and lift the muscles one by one. Do it again on the other side. Then, rub the trapezius muscle on both sides. Apply even pressure.
  • Knuckling. Don’t break contact with the skin, tuck the fingers in slowly to make fists with both hands. Start from the outer shoulders and pull the knuckles in gently along the top of the trapezius muscle. After the knuckles reach the neck sides, roll the wrists bringing the larger knuckles into contact with the skin surface as the fingers knuckles continue moving from the backside of the neck to the base of the skull. Fingers should penetrate deep into the muscles until the tension disappears. But the patient should not feel pain and discomfort. Hold this position for 3-4 seconds and move down towards the neck. Run your knuckles between the spinal column and blade. After reaching mid-back, move your knuckles back to the neck and roll the wrists as you get to the base of the skull. Do it 3-5 times.
  • Thumb striping. Apply pressure using your extended thumb gliding from the mid-back to the trapezius muscle. Just as the first thumb starts sliding off the top of the shoulder, slide the other thumb on the same side. The pressure should be both mild and strong. Do it for 1 minute. Repeat it from the side of the neck down to the top of the shoulder. And after 1 minute, continue down to the low shoulder and repeat for 1 minute again. Do it on the other side.
  • Shoulder rotations. Support the shoulder using your hand from beneath. Extend the fingers of the other hand and place them along the inner edge of the shoulder blade rotating the shoulder. After finishing rotation, apply downward pressure on the shoulder using one hand while the other hand slides up to hold the base of the skull. Lift muscles on the shoulder. Do it again on the other side.
  • Finish. Extend one hand across the back with another one closer to you. Pull the far hand towards you while the near hand moves away. Do it until covering the entire upper back and shoulders. Apply less pressure. The final stage is kneading the neck. Wrap your fingers at the base of the neck and knead them. Then knead the neck itself.

Blot the remaining oil with napkins, cover the person with a towel and let it lie for 10-15 minutes. Don’t let the client get up right after the procedure.

As a result, muscle tension, pain, and fatigue disappear. For a visual experience, watch a video of a shoulder and neck massage. Enjoy!

Other Methods

  1. Rotation of the thumb at the base of the neck. The thumbs of both hands perform a deep massage of the muscle triangle, which is located between the top of the shoulder blades and the base of the skull.
  2. Massaging the muscles located along the spine with your thumbs. The muscles in the back and sides of the neck carry great stress. Movements start at the base of the skull. The fingers move from top to bottom to the middle of the back. The thumbs are simultaneously pressing the muscles. Finger movements should be short, gentle and strong. Having finished the procedure, return the hands to the initial position by sliding motion.
  3. Massage the muscles around the scapula. The patient bends the arm in the elbow and places it on the back along the waist. The massage therapist places one hand under the patient’s shoulder, and with the fingers of the second hand performs pressing movements on the muscles around the scapula. Start from the top of the shoulder and go down slowly. Fingers do small rotating moves on the flat part of the scapula. The pressure should be moderately deep.
  4. Knead the thumbs into the tense muscle knots. You may feel hard knots indicating tension, and you should apply pressure from your thumbs. Place the fingers on them and apply firm pressure in a circular motion to release the tension.
  5. Pinch along the back of the neck. Work with 1 hand at once not to cause pain and discomfort. Stand behind and to the right side a little. Place the thumb of your left hand on the right side of the client’s neck.
    Wrap other 4 fingers around to the left side of the neck to stabilize your thumb. Knead your thumb in circular motions up and down. Do it again for the left side of the neck.
  6. Glide your hands down the sides of the neck without bothering the throat. Glide your hand from the top of the neck to the front of the shoulder. Place your hand the shoulder to stabilize it. Place the thumb of the other hand on the back of the neck and the remaining fingers on its side. Applying slight pressure, glide your hand down. In the end, your thumb should be situated on the back of the shoulder and the other fingers should be on the front of the shoulder.
  7. Apply firm pressure to the outsides of the shoulder blades with your fingertips. Move them in a circular motion to release tension.
  8. If focused pressure to the spine causes pain, use the heel of your palm between the shoulder blades apply broad and even pressure. Place one hand on the front of their shoulder to stabilize the body and the heel of your palm between the shoulder blades.
  9. The upper arms massaging. The muscles in the arms, neck, and shoulders work closely so, the tension in the upper arms also influence the shoulders and the neck. Place your hands on the shoulders and apply gentle but strong pressure. Run them down from the shoulders to ер upper arms, then back up. Do it a few times more.
  10. Massage the muscles above the collarbone. You may feel a small dent above it. Massage it gently with your fingertips and circular and kneading motions.

Move from one muscle group to another and vary your hands’ moves to make the massage more pleasant for the client. The less he can predict the sensations, the better the process will feel. The very intense pressure might be painful if you move hands too quickly down the neck, so move them it slowly.

Use all parts of your hands:

  • Thumbs for pressure to tension knots. Use not just the tip of your thumb but also its length.
  • Palms for light pressure over larger areas.
  • Fingertips for firmer pressure. Be firm, but not rough.
  • Knuckles for particularly tight muscles.

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About the Author

Joshua Howard

I'm a healthy living blogger who loves to help people who care about having an eco-friendly home environment and a healthy lifestyle. With proper nutrition I helped my brother to cure gastritis and my father to normalize his blood pressure.

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