When you last went to a luxury spa in Phuket, you probably found that the work the masseuse did to your neck and shoulders had the most beneficial impact, right? It’s hardly surprising – with most of us now spending our time looking at computer screens and smartphones, we’re putting a lot of pressure on these areas, so they often develop the most tightness. However, to keep you loose until you can next visit a Phuket spa, here are a few simple stretches you can do to relieve the tension.
1. Upper Traps Stretch
Grab the back of your head with both hands. Slowly pull your head forward until you can feel the stretch in the back of your neck and shoulders. Hold it for about 20 seconds and release. Repeat this three times, pushing a little further each time as the muscles warm up and relax a bit. This will often provide relief for tension headaches.
2. Levator Scap Stretch
This one is going to seem a little odd at first, but it’s great for easing tight shoulders, so you’ll soon get used to the weird pose it involves. First, drop your chin to your chest, then turn your head so that you’re looking at your right armpit. Put your right hand on the back of your head and pull so that you’re stretching your left shoulder – effectively pulling your nose closer to your pits (maybe take a shower before you attempt this). As with the traps stretch, hold it for 20 seconds and repeat three times, then do the same for the opposite side. It’s not as good as a trip to a Phuket spa, but it’ll certainly ease a lot of tightness.
3. Thoracic Extension
This stretch is particularly good if you spend a lot of your day sitting behind a desk. However, it does require a foam roller, though you could use a tightly rolled towel instead. Sit on the floor (or a mat) with your feet flat, knees bent and your hands behind your head. With the roller or towel positioned about a third of the way up your back from your behind, lie back and arch over the roller. Take five deep breaths before sitting back up. Move the roller up a bit and repeat three times.
4. Pec Stretch
Being hunched over a computer keyboard will often compress your chest, tightening your pectoral muscles. This, in turn, causes discomfort for your shoulders. You can ease it by going to a Phuket spa, of course, but you can get a quick fix by putting your arm flat against a wall, bent at the elbow so that it forms a 90-degree angle. Simply rotate your body away from the wall without moving the arm, pulling the pectoral. Hold it for 30 seconds, then repeat it three times.