Neck and Shoulder tension is very common nowadays. We carry a lot of literal and metaphorical burdens on our shoulders. And we never seem to take them off, even when we go to sleep. Look at your shoulders – how high are they? Can you drop and relax them? Most of us push with our tasks throughout the day without even noticing how tense our shoulders are. So, what can we do to alleviate neck and shoulder tension?
Generally speaking, there is a mental attitude buried somewhere along the planes of manifestation which is interfering with the harmonious flow of the universal energy circulating within. And because of that attitude, disharmony begins to manifest as it cascades down through the planes of manifestation until it emerges in our physical body. Usually, that is the time when most of us “notice” something is not right and start looking for relief. That is the symptom level. The problem is, however, that even if you find your remedy – pills, exercise, new bed, etc. – unless you address the underlying disharmony, the symptoms will reoccur.
Neck And Shoulder Tension – Physical Level
Let’s say you go to bed feeling all right but then wake up in the morning with a stiff neck or shoulders. What can you do?
For myself, I have found out the fastest way to help myself is gentle Yoga warm-up exercises. The QiGong’s Eight Pieces Of Brocade are also very gentle and efficient for shoulder and neck projects.
For a Jin Shin Jyutsu flow, you can begin by simply placing your hands gently on your shoulders. That’s what most people instinctively do, anyway. I was just talking to a lady yesterday explaining how I like to hold hands and toes for my family and friends, and how great they said it felt. She looked at me and said – and don’t forget the shoulders, they feel great, too, when someone touches them!
So, if you are into Jin Shin Jyutsu and would like to explore alternatives, here are some more options for you to try. A good hold is to place a hand on the opposite shoulder and the other hand on the same side sit bone. Then, keeping the hand on the shoulder, move the other hand from the sit bone to the same side groin area. There are no rules how long to hold the hands in their positions. I usually do it for as long as it feels good and comfortable. Sometimes, instead of holding the shoulder, I prefer to hold the back of the neck together with either the same side sit bone or the coccyx area. The latter flow is very powerful if you wish to clear up tension along the entire back of the body – from head to toes. In the Jin Shin Jyutsu community, it is known as the Bladder Flow and it is one of my personal favorites. I held it once for 30 minutes straight and it straightened and aligned my tailbone which had been crooked and giving me troubles for a while.
Neck And Shoulder Tension – Mental Level
The art of Jin Shin Jyutsu shines at its best, however, when you apply it to address the causes of your discomforts. This is where you begin to pay attention to the various relationships between mental attitudes and energetic disharmonies. You can still use the same Jin Shin Jyutsu flows, but not so much because they flow along the neck or shoulders, but rather because of their relationships: with the neck, with stubborn attitudes, with flexibility and adaptability, etc.
When it comes to stiff neck and shoulders, they seem to relate to some form of stubbornness. The tension in the opposite neck and shoulder also can cascade into the back of the leg pain. So, perhaps, it is time to open your mind and practice some flexibility, adaptability, letting go of crystalized habits. One flow good for lubricating the body and giving you flexibility is to place one hand on the left or right of where the skull meets the neck (there is a natural protrusion there). The other hand goes on the opposite side collarbone area. For example, place your left hand on the left side of the base of the skull and the right hand lightly on your right collarbone. Or, reverse with the right hand holding the right side of the base of the skull while the left is on the left collarbone.
Holding your fingers is also very powerful and profound way to help yourself. The Index finger will help let go of possessiveness and stubbornness. The Middle finger will help with flexibility and anger. Even better, why not experiment with your fingers and find out the hold of which one feels the best. The finger that feels the best is the one that is the most appropriate for you at this moment. That is my favorite game at night before I fall asleep. Try it and judge for yourself!