Exercise 3-Stretch: Scalene muscles
Sit up straight but relaxed in a comfortable seat. Sit on your left hand to anchor the shoulder down. Tilt your head to the right to stretch your left side. If you feel an adequate amount of stretch, stay here. Try holding for 30 seconds. If you want more, bring your right hand to rest on the top of your head and add a gentle pull. Repeat on the right side, sitting on the right hand to anchor the shoulder down, as you place the left hand on your head to add a gentle stretch for the right side. Try holding for 30 seconds each time or longer if needed.
*Reduces tension and muscle guarding in the sides of the neck which are accessory muscles of breathing and tend to overwork in stressful situations
*Helps to create space and mobility in the neck where the brachial plexus (a bundle of nerves) are located, which can relieve symptoms of general tension and numbness or tingling
*Alleviates chronic stiffness and muscle guarding in the neck due to previous neck/head injuries or from “carrying stress in the shoulders”
If you’re just starting your routine, try these 3 exercises once a day for 3 weeks and see how you feel. If you’re enjoying these exercises and feeling a benefit from doing them in the A.M, you might have the idea to carve out another 5 minutes before bedtime to repeat the same routine for an extra-sound sleep. (3 exercises, 2x/day, for 3 weeks).
And if you are feeling really ambitious, you might hold certain stretches for longer, repeat a few, or for even better results, add-in an afternoon session of the same routine (3 exercises, 3x/day, a total of about 15 minutes in your day, for 3 weeks). This mid-day option is a great way to take the edge off of any midday stiffness that creeps its way in while we are cooped up at home and on our screens. The more frequently you set aside these few minutes of your day, your stretching routine can become second nature and something you may even look forward to.
Remember that creating a routine for yourself when all structure and organization as we know it has fallen, is no easy task. Let’s be real: sometimes self-care means falling out of routine too; but it is a much smoother process of coming back, when we have the practices in place for giving ourselves what we need. Let your routine be flexible enough to be realistic for you and do your best not to deny your mind or body what it is asking for.
Nicole would love to know: What would be the most valuable tool or information to receive from your massage therapist at this time? Email us with your feedback!
Stay safe & be well,