Summary: Experience three motions for tension relief. Two for your neck and shoulders and one for your arms and hands. Turn off the stress response by reducing muscle tension.
- Why do we need these everyday motions?
- No stretch, no pain, and move slowly
- Motion – HEAD AND SHOULDERS [04:42]
- Motion – ARM ROLLS [11:27]
- Motion – TURN TILT TIP [15:38]
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Hello, Friends! And Welcome to Move Into Resilience! I’m your host Pamela Stokes. In today’s episode we learn two motions to relieve neck pain and a third one to reduce tension in our arms and hands. Let’s begin.
[00:22] Ease and comfort are what we’re looking for
Hello, my friends. Pamela here. In today’s episode it’s going to be a little bit different. I’m not going to do a whole lot of talking. I’m more going to be letting you know some ways that you can help yourself stay relaxed while you’re using your phone or your computer. This is very common that we would be very focused in our work or playing and we would be staying in the same position for too long. And getting those muscles to hold the same way for such a long time can create a lot of tension, so I’m going to show you a few things that you can do in the moment to relieve some of that tension. These practices come from two different sources: one is called the Feldenkrais Method, and I will put a link in for you to know what that is. The other one is called Hanna Somatics. Hanna Somatics is an off-shoot of Feldenkrais, so they’re very related. The basis behind these two body practices, these movement practices, is we want to have no stretch and we want to have no pain, so that when we’re doing these motions we’re sending only positive messages, positive signals, to the brain about these motions. So ease and comfort are what we’re looking for. It’s based on the idea of the way that it works in physics. If we want to make change, the best way to do that is to go with what’s already there and then ease ourselves out of that. What we’re doing is kind of saying to the nervous system, you know how to do this, right? Here’s an activity you already know how to do it. I’m gonna let you do that and then I’m going to show you another possibility. And by doing it this way, we’re not stressing ourselves more or adding more pressure to the system—the system which already has tension in it. The first activity is going to involve the head and the shoulders. And the idea is that we want to have no pain; we want to have no stretch; and we want to move slowly. What we’re trying to do is train our nervous system and our brain to know there’s another possibility here. There’s another way that we can be, and have our head and shoulders be, that feels comfortable. So that’s what we’re going to be doing.
[03:24] Intro to Motion One—Head and Shoulders
The first one is very similar to an activity that we did in episode 7 called ARCH AND CURL, but we’re just going to be focusing on the head, the neck, and the shoulders for this first one. Typically when we’re working on our phone, computer, video games, whatever we’re doing, we have a misalignment. Our head is jutted forward so our ears are actually beyond the line of our shoulders. When we’re in this position, we can get a lot of tension through the back of the neck. It closes off our airway and actually causes a reduction in our ability to breathe. So there’s a lot of really negative things going on here. It can cause headaches and so forth. Every so often, I’d suggest every 10 minutes or so, you can do one of these motions and you will relieve the stress, the tension in the muscles, and you will have a lot more ease and comfort in your neck area.
[04:42] MOTION ONE: Head and Shoulders
So the first one. let’s go ahead and try this together. Please join in. You’re going to go further into that forward head position so you’re jutting your head forward so that your ears are beyond your shoulders and let your shoulders roll in toward one another. So you’re kind of going into a slump. Now, from that position, slowly undo what you just did. So we’re going to let the shoulders come back, let the head come back. We’re going to find a sort of neutral place. That may take some time. We’re going to move a little bit slowly because this is our learning time. The cortex, which is the thinking part of the brain, is very slow and it actually takes quite a bit of time for it to learn these new motions. OK, so that’s one. Let’s go ahead and do that again, this time half as far. So you’re going to stick your face forward, jut your face forward, half as far as you did before and let those shoulders roll in toward one another, once again about halfway as far. And now we’ll ease that out; letting the head come back to a more neutral position and letting the shoulders unroll at the same time, so we’re doing these together—the shoulders and the head. And then take a break and take a breath. We always want to pause between the motions so that again we let that cortex catch up and receive the information, and also to let all of your connective tissue—your fascia—let it settle into the new place. And now we’ll do it one more time. This time just a tiny little bit. So jutting your head forward just a tiny bit; shoulders rolling in just a little; and then we’ll ease out of that and coming back to, slowly coming back into a more neutral position. And take a break, take a breath, and notice how you feel. You may feel a little looser through your neck and your shoulders. Maybe easier to have them more in alignment with your ears. And now we’re going to do the kind of the opposite movement, and this is to relieve some of the stress in the back of the neck as well. If you tip your chin up and then raise your shoulders towards the back of your head, and it may help to have your eyes closed when you do this, and then slowly let your head come back to a more neutral place; let your shoulders slide down; and coming into a more easy position. And take a break and take a breath. And we’ll do that again, half as far this time. So again with the chin lifting up and the shoulders rising toward the back of the head, just halfway this time. And then slowly undo what you just did, slowly moving out of that chin-lifted position. And breathe and take a break. And then we’ll do it one more time. Chin lifts just slightly; shoulders lift just slightly towards the back of the head; and then slowly releasing and coming back to a more neutral easy place for your head and shoulders. And notice how you feel. Maybe a lot of changes.
[09:21] Why is it bumpy?
One of the things that people often notice, especially if this is one of your first times doing this motion, both these motions, is that there’s a little bit of a bumpiness in the undoing part. So we have the doing part and then the slow release. During that release time it may be kind of jumpy or bumpy and that’s OK. That just means that there’s a little more learning to do Our body is designed so that when we learn a motion it goes into the automatic part of our brain. What we’re doing now is we’re opening up that old pattern, slowing it down so much that we’re able to see all the little parts of it now. Because it had been put into an automatic part of the brain, all those tiny little details have been kind of lost, and this is called sensory motor amnesia. It’s got a fancy name, but what it means is that there’s a little bit of missing information. What we’re doing by slowing down and paying attention, we’re actually filling up the gaps taking out those little bits of lost information and putting in new more complete information. So the more you do this, the more smooth it will become and the easier it will become. That’s the first one.
[10:55] Introduction to Motion Two—Arm Rolls
I would like to show you another motion that you can do. This one is for the forearms and the hands because when we’re working with our fingers and doing computing, doing typing, working with video games, or even sewing and cooking and things like that, where we’re using our hands a lot, it is helpful to do these motions to relieve some of the tension that has built up.
[11:27] MOTION TWO – Arm Rolls
Please join in. This is a very simple activity. And let’s try this together. For this motion, you should be sitting and let your forearms just rest on the table. Let your hands be heavy. And then slowly rotate your palms so that your palms are facing up towards the ceiling, And then just stay in this position for a breath or two. And then you can rotate them back to palms down. And we’ll do this again. Rotate your palms so that they are now facing the ceiling, slowly. And you may want to imagine all the space you just created in the forearms between the two bones. Breathing, noticing the ease and comfort in your arms. And then we’ll turn them back again palms down. And one more time, very slowly, turn your palms over, slowly, so that they are now facing the ceiling. And let your forearms just rest on the table, let your hands be heavy, and take a break and take a breath. And then you can just let your hands float down by your sides for a moment and notice how you feel.
[13:26] Bones uncross when palms are up.
So that one’s really nice for the forearms. And one of the things that is helpful to know is that our bones in that part of our arm, there are two bones. And since one of them is in a position where it doesn’t really rotate, when we have our hands palm down, the bones are crossed. And when we have our hands palms up, the bones become uncrossed. And so all of the little fascia, that’s the connective tissue, is allowed to have more openness and more movement. The muscles and the tendons all have more space when we have our hands in the palm up position, so that’s the reasoning behind that motion that we just did.
[14:30] Intro to Motion Three – Turn Tilt Tip
And our final motion, I like to call this TURN TILT TIP or TTT or T cubed, there’s different names you can give it. Basically, what we’re doing here is we are inviting the muscle on the side of the neck called the sternocleidomastoidus. It’s this one that lines the side of your neck. And when you turn your head, it’s the one that sticks out. So if you look in the mirror and turn your head you’ll see this long muscle, kind of from the ear/jaw area, back of the jaw, down toward your collarbone. So this one is able, you’re able to turn your head with it. And this one can get very tight and very tense from overuse and so this motion will help you with that. I know you’re going to enjoy this one. Please join in.
[15:38] MOTION THREE – Turn Tilt Tip
Begin by sitting or standing. Turn your head slightly to one side. Tilt your ear slightly toward that same side shoulder, and then tip your chin slightly up while slightly raising your shoulder toward the back of your head. And then slowly release this in reverse—tip tilt and turn— so that you come back to neutral. And you’ll do this three times on each side. Turn slightly, tilt, and tip, and then slowly release this. Take a breath in between and pause. Turn slightly, tilt, and tip, and then slowly release this in reverse. Take a breath in between and pause, and then go to the other side. Turn the head slightly, tilt the ear toward the shoulder, and then tip the chin up as you raise the shoulder toward the back of the head. And then slowly release this in reverse. Take a breath in between and pause. Turn slightly, tilt, and tip, and then slowly release this. Take a breath in between and pause. Turn slightly, tilt, and tip. Release as you come out of this and pause, and notice how you feel.
So today’s episode was a little different. I didn’t do a lot of teaching. Maybe I snuck it in there a little bit. There are a lot of people having trouble with their arms and wrists and hands from all the forward working that we’re doing and this close, very detailed, working that we’re doing with our hands and fingers. As well, people are having trouble with headaches and neck problems, shoulder tension, all those things and I felt it was important to share this information with you. You can do these motions any time of day and I recommend, when you’re working, if you have a lot of hours of work that you need to be doing on the computer, that you set yourself a timer every 15 or 20 minutes and pause do a few motions and then come back to your work. It will help your body, but it will also help your mind stay clear because when we have tension, that sends a message to the nervous system that there is a problem. And when we have that problem,, the stress that turns on the whole mechanism, the whole cascade, to get you to get out of the dangerous situation, but it doesn’t help you think better. We do want to remove the stress that’s showing itself as tension in the body so that we have more clear thinking, less brain fog, and more energy to put into the work that we’re doing.
[19:35] Less Stress/More Comfort
If you liked those motions, I do have a course available called LESS STRESS/MORE COMFORT. It’s on the website MoveIntoResilience.com. If you register for the course you will also get a free private session, a 90-minute session, with me and we can work on deeper issues that you may be having. I hope you’ll check it out. Thank you so much for joining me today send yourself some appreciation. This has been Move Into Resilience. You can find out more at moveintoresilience.com. I’m Pamela Stokes. Take it easy!