“Computer Neck” Shoulder Massage Techniques

Many people who sit long hours in front of a personal computer complain of pains in their neck, shoulders and forearms. Neck and shoulder pains used to be quite common among athletes and those who carry back or shoulder packs or satchels, such as postmen.

These aches and pains can be reduced significantly, and even eliminated entirely, if proper periodic massage treatments are given by either a knowing friend or a professional massage therapist. The general procedures for these treatments are as follows: Have the person lie down face up on either a massage table or firm mattress or floor mat. A rolled towel place under the upper back will help to stabilize the back and neck. Cradle the person’s head with one hand, while turning the head slightly to the right. Glide your other hand firmly out from the center of the chest to the top of the arm, and then back along the shoulder, then back along the neck to the base of the skull Make circle like motions with the fingers along the back of the neck to make the neck less tense. Continue these motions down the neck and then on the chest. Then, stroke firmly along the side of neck and then to the shoulder. This will help to stretch the neck muscles.

Turn the head to the center and then place both hands on the head to stretch the neck muscles Then turn the head to opposite side and repeat the procedure from the opposite direction. Make small, circular movements on the back of the neck, and stroke the back of the head with circular movements. Then lower the head to the prone position.

The fingers, particularly the finger tips, are very important in this kind of therapy. Use firm, gliding strokes to give the most effect. Since the source of the discomfort is often away from the skull, it is very important to concentrate of the areas where most of the pain is coming from.

When massaging forearms, use both hands and firmly ‘wring’ the arm, beginning at the wrist. Continue up the arm until reaching the upper arm and shoulder.

The Swedish Massage

Swedish MassageOf all types of massage techniques, what is known as Swedish massage is probably the most commonly known. Introduced by a Swedish physiologist named Henri Peter Ling at the University of Stockholm in 1812, Swedish massage is used to improve circulation and ease muscle aches and tension. The technique involves the use of a number of strokes and hand movements including long, gliding strokes, muscle kneading, ‘hacking’ of tapping various parts of the body with the hand, and muscle vibration.

In Swedish massage, the practitioner incorporates long, firm strokes with gentle tapping. In this manner, what are known as ‘long muscles’ i.e., muscles in the legs, back etc, are stimulated on a large area, increasing blood circulation and helping to limber stiff joints and relieve feelings of stress. In addition to using these various hand movements, the practitioner uses special “massage oils” and lotions to decrease friction and give a more pleasurable effect. Strokes known as ‘pressure strokes’ are used to ‘heat’ up the body areas being massaged.

The person receiving the treat is either scantily clothes or not clothed at all. The person is usually covered by a sheet, however, in a process known as “draping’. In this manner, the practitioner removes only the part of the sheet on the body area to be massaged.

Another type of Swedish massage, known as ‘flat stone massage’, heated flat stones are placed on the body to bring warmth to the areas being treated. Afterwards, the stones are removed and the practitioner applies long, kneading strokes with his hands. The combination of the heated stones and the practitioner’s strokes give a very special and relaxing effect. Sometimes the alternate use of both heated stones, such as balsat, an cooling stones made from marble, give a very pleasant effect.

Swedish massage is often used in conjunction with other types of massage, including sport and deep tissue massage. A common technique is to stimulate the blood flow towards the heart by stimulating blood circulation. Benefits from Swedish massage techniques include relaxation, blood flow stimulation, removing muscular tension discomfort, especially following fractures and severe sprains, and as a healing technique in stress management. The treatment should not be used if a person is suffering from any health problem dealing with or indicating a serious illness including fever, jaundice, diarrhea, vomiting, etc.

Breast is Best

Breast is BestToday’s modern mother, who divides her time between pursuing her career goals as well as taking care of her family, often regards breast feeding as something out of the archaic past. Many women in today’s society, do not even have their own mothers to turn to on this subject, as even their mother, if not grandmother, has not breastfed any of her children. Clinical studies on the subject of breast feeding are making new ‘discoveries’ on the subject yearly, and are concluding that not only is nursing more healthful and crucial to a child’s physical development, but very important psychologically as well.

Working mothers especially are faced with the ‘dilemma’ of breastfeeding baby once they return to work after maternity leave, which can be anywhere from 3 to 6 months after giving birth. Most workplaces are simply not suited for Mom to bring baby along and feed him or her during the work day. This problem has been more difficult in America than in Israel, where mothers are allowed to leave work early to go home to take care of such matters. Some companies, especially high tech ones who appreciate the contribution that the working mother is giving to the company, provide special sections within the premises for not only breastfeeding, but caring of small children who are cared for by hired nannies while Mom is at her work station.

Relating back to studies made on the benefits of breastfeeding over using formulas such as Similac and other preparations based on cow’s milk and an array of vitamins and minerals, it has been found that the natural vitamins and other substances in mothers’ milk far surpass any commercially made baby formula produced to date. The horrific results of the 2003 ‘baby formula tragedy’ which occurred in Israel, that left 3 infants dead and more than a dozen others incapacitated for life, clearly indicates the results of relying on these preparations instead of what comes naturally. In this instance, the product known as Remedia, lacked the B1 vitamin, or thiamin, which is essential to a baby’s nervous system development. The product, especially manufactured for use for orthodox Jewish mothers, due to complying with strict laws of Kashrus, did not contain milk solids at all; not to mention the omission of the B1 vitamin additive. Mother’s milk has been found to contain the perfect ‘balance’ of fats, nutrients and essential vitamins necessary for a child’s development. While it is true that some babies are either allergic to or cannot digest preparations containing lactose, this problem is much less prevalent with mother’s milk.

Israeli women who either do not have enough of their own milk or for some reason cannot produce their own (known as ‘dry up’) can obtain frozen mothers milk by consulting either their own pediatrician, or by consulting organizations such as the local equivalent of the La Leche League, as well as the “Tipat Halav” (mother and child clinic) in their own Kupat Holim Sick Fund.

Despite everything, including all the stories of all those insecticides, food additives, and even tar and nicotine from cigarettes finding their way into human milk, the benefits of breastfeeding far outweigh the inconveniences and other problems connected to this truly natural way of giving one’s precious baby a good “head start” in life. Regarding cigarettes, its much better not to smoke at all; whether one is breast feeding or not!