Thai massage typically involves two people, so how can you experience its rejuvenating benefits when you’re partnerless in the office? These 7 stretches can be done independently, and will soothe your hard-working muscles, just like a deep massage.
Desk-ridden from 9 to 5? You’re in good company. According to science journal PLOS ONE, the percentage of service jobs in the U.S. has nearly doubled since the 60s, leaving more than four in five Americans with occupations that require almost no physical exertion.
Across the continent, people are cramped up in their desk chairs, putting strain on their shoulders and wrists, and damaging their holistic health. But if you’re one of these slouchers, there’s no need to fear: Thai massage is here to reinvigorate you.
Though massage is typically an act for two, Thai soft tissue manipulation can be applied to solo stretching. Below are seven fun ways for you to soothe the spots that tense up at your desk without enlisting the help of your coworkers.
And remember, at Navina, we believe that each body requires customized attention, so feel free to stray from these moves and find the versions that feel most comfortable to you.
1. Pain in the Neck?
It’s easy to develop neck aches when you’re peering down at your laptop for hours on end. To soothe your neck muscles, tilt your head to the right and rest your right arm gently atop it. Resist the impulse to push down on your head.
Instead, let the weight of your arm put gentle pressure on the sternomastoid and upper trapezius muscles, which can cramp up at work, Inner Body can help you find these muscles. Hold for about 30 seconds. Repeat on the left side.
2. Turn the Other Cheek:
Resting all your body weight on your bottom all day can leave it feeling achey. Solution? Sit on top of your desk (this will be a good excuse to clear off the clutter!), letting your legs hang off of it. Lift your right leg up to the desk and over your left thigh. Hold your leg in place by clutching your right shin and press, gently stretching your gluteus maximus. Repeat with the opposite leg.
3. The Stretch that Soothed the Camel’s Back:
Your desk chair may feel cozy, but being cooped up in it for hours takes a toll on your lower back. To target this area, sit a foot away from your desk in an uncrossed butterfly position — your legs bent, splayed outward, and your toes touching.
Next, reach your arms out in front of you and bend forward to grab the base of your desk, feeling the stretch in your extensor muscles, which Spine Health can help you find.
4. The Face-Off:
When you stare at a screen for an extended period of time, you might involuntarily furrow your brow and tighten your jaw, putting stress on the soft tissue in those areas. To relieve the tension, place your forefingers on your temples and your thumbs right above the hinge of your jaw. Move your fingers in circles on these spots, applying a fair amount of pressure.
5. Weight Off Your Shoulders:
Hunching forward in your desk chair, you tend to tense up your shoulders. Here’s a quick fix. Stand up straight, place your hands behind your back, and clasp them together. Slowly bend over and lift your clasped hands toward your head. Let them hang there, feeling the stretch in your upper arms and shoulder joints.
6. The Helping Hand:
Has typing all day completely cramped up your wrists? Sooth your extensor retinaculum, Inner Body can help you find it, by making a gentle fist with your right hand and holding it in your left. Without tensing, use your left hand to slowly rotate your right fist around your wrist. Switch hands and repeat.
7. The Leg Up:
If your legs have been squished under your desk since morning, you’re in desperate need of this stretch. Rest on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Inhale and exhale deeply. Next, cross your right leg over your left. Use your left hand to lightly pull your right knee leftward. Feel the stretch in your hamstrings. Switch sides.
Working at your desk day in and day out can leave you yearning for a good massage and a mental health week. Try out these seven Thai massage-inspired stretches, and you’ll find both of these luxuries within.