Massage therapy generally focuses mostly on the body from the neck on down. Some neck massage might be included, but it is very rare to find a massage therapist who specializes in excellent neck massage.
Excellent neck massage therapists are hard to find
It is even more rare to find therapists who are able to do a full one hour therapeutic session on the neck which includes relaxation, deep work and neck manipulations.
One reason is that neck massage and therapy are more difficult to learn. After all the neck is only a small area.
In addition effective neck manipulations require quite some skill since the head needs to be lifted and moved without lying on a solid surface.
Neck massage is a much needed skill
The neck is a very sensitive area. All the nerves of the body are passing through it, along with major arteries and the windpipe (trachea).
The neck is strongly affected by bad posture where the head is tilted forward and the neck muscles are working overtime to hold up the heavy head which is not balanced on the neck anymore.
Common culprits for neck problems
A large percentage of adults in developed countries experience neck problems frequently.
The causes are lifestyle habits and occupations where the neck is mostly held in one position.
The obvious culprit is computer work, but there are other factors as well.
Think of a dentist who is leaning over a patient’s head and focusing on a tiny hole in a small tooth while doing precision drilling. I know this since my dentist is suffering from neck pain for this very reason.
Then there are scientists and researchers who are staring into a microscope for extended periods of time, or long distance truck drivers looking straight ahead for hours at a time.
How about fighter pilots who need intense focus while monitoring their equipment and who are subjected to spinal compression and neck strain due to high speeds.
And think about musicians. Imagine a trumpet player who is holding the instrument up or a violinist with the violin squeezed between neck and shoulder.
Last but not least professions which require heavy lifting can put a lot of stress on the neck.
There are plenty of professions which can be very hard on the neck. But even without taking the profession into account, most people spend hours every day staring into computer screens, mobile devices and TV screens.
Who is affected by neck problems?
The neck is designed to move around a lot. It is the most flexible part of the spine. However it is also the part of the spine which is most susceptible to injury.
The cervical vertebrae are much smaller than the ones in the lower spine, as are the muscles that hold them in place.
Statistically at least 10 percent of the population is suffering from stiff necks at any given time.
Osteoarthritis problems in the neck are very common in persons over 50.
Over 80 percent of adults are periodically or frequently affected by back and/or neck pain.
Any activity that keeps the neck in one position for extended periods of time is a possible cause of neck pain.
Examples are long distance driving, computer work, dentists at work, truckers, writers, desk work in general, painters, assembly workers, certain musicians, and spending hours looking at mobile devices.
Statistically, neck pain is one the top three causes of chronic pain in the US, along with lower back pain and headaches/migraines.
Neck Massage for therapy and relaxation
So the occurrence of neck problems is very high. However the skill level of the massage therapist profession for effective and therapeutic neck work is relatively low compared to below-the-neck work.
Besides the need for effective neck work due to strain, stiffness or injury, good neck massage is highly relaxing and pleasurable. You don’t need a ‘reason’ to work on the neck.
How to check your neck massage skills
How are your neck massage skills? Here is a simple self assessment:
- Are you able to do a 30 minute to one hour session purely on the neck and nothing else?
- Do you feel that you have at least a dozen or more good techniques for working effectively on the neck?
- Do you have a good repertoire of neck manipulations and stretches which can release stiffness and increase range of motion (not including soft tissue manipulations)?
If you answered “No” to any of those three questions, then a good neck training course would be recommended and beneficial for your career.
Training options for neck massage
If you can find such a highly specialized course with an experienced and skilled instructor, and an in-depth training program in your area, and you can afford the cost – then this might be a good option.
If this is not the case, then Thai Healing Massage Academy offers an excellent online training option.
It is called “Heavenly Head Massage”. This course includes 8 hours of in-depth multi media training for neck, head and face.
The course is self paced and interactive with direct access to the instructor. There is life-long access to all training materials, including unlimited instructor support.
Other benefits are an inspired student community in a private facebook group, certification options for display certificates and CEUs, and a risk free purchase with an unconditional satisfaction guarantee.
In conclusion, neck problems are very common. There is a high demand for this service, but good neck massage therapy is hard to find.
The Heavenly Head Massage online training course is an excellent solution for becoming an expert in neck, head and face massage.
The author, Shama Kern, is the founder and director of Thai Healing Massage Academy. He has been practicing and teaching Thai Massage for two decades, and he is the creator of 20 Thai Massage online training courses.