Sunday, December 9, 2012

Let your shoulders go at Christmas

Our shoulders are one of the most misunderstood areas of our body. This post explores our shoulders – how we think about them, releasing them, what happens when we lift young children, how we drive and “treatments” you can explore.

The power of thought
Can you make your fingers tingle, just by drawing your attention to them? Perhaps your eyes soften or your jaw releases through pure thought.
Well, maybe it is time to start playing with other parts of your body.

Release shoulders away from each other

Leonardo da Vinci
Our shoulders are often tight, pulled forward, or hunched up. Can you think about width across your shoulders. The tips are already far apart, ask them to widen further away from the neck.
Most people hunch forward a little when using a computer or mobile phone. Is pulling back the shoulders the right response? Lots of people do it. But this narrows the back - why respond to narrowing at the front by doing this.
Instead, think width along the collarbone, from the middle where it attaches to the sternum out to the tips.

 Helping a post-natal mum
Pregnancy puts new strains on the body. Caring for the baby imposes yet another set of strains on a body that has been softened up by the hormones that are released to aid in the birth.
Firmin Baes - Doux rĂªves

I have two grand-children. One is imposing huge demands on his mother. Towards the end of her pregnancy, her wrists became progressively sore, and this has continued two months after giving birth. Her patterns of walking, bending and picking up may not have contributed to the initial problem, but her recovery may be affected by tightening in her back and shoulders. We’re working every few days on giving her release, and on learning new patterns of movement.


Text message ‘light fingers on the wheel’
A client recently texted me to say she would arrive late for a lesson. I knew that this would make her a little anxious, especially as she hadn’t driven to me from work before. I texted back “don’t hurry. Light fingers on the wheel. Release shoulders wide.” She laughed when we met, and said that these suggestions had certainly helped her during the trip.

 What is the best massage for shoulders?
Nothing is like a good shoulder massage – hands softly moving across and up and down, or probing deeply into tight spots.

Did you know that similar release can also come from the gentle hands of an osteopath or Alexander Technique teacher?
Moreover, with Alexander Technique you learn a practical activity that gives you release any time – instead of always collapsing on the bed when you get home, try Constructive Rest (see my blog post about resting the back, and email me for a tip sheet). You also learn how to recognise your own pattern of muscle tightening, and learn how to deal with it better.

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