How many hours do you spend hunched over a computer each day? If you’re anything like me, you’ve lost count by now. Today’s desk-bound society is doing a real number on our bodies – increasing our waistlines, worsening our posture, even causing myriad muscle aches and pains.
Luckily, there’s a lot you can do to prevent so-called “computer hunch.” Among the best solutions is massage therapy. At New York City’s Haven Spa, the 60-minute Geek Massage is dedicated entirely to relieving tension caused by regular technology use.
“Long hours in the same position results in poor circulation,” says Lara Katsman, massage therapist at Haven. “This constant hunching over affects everything from our mid-thoracic spine level all the way up to our lower neck.”
To combat tightness, Katsman recommends a variation of techniques – therapeutic deep tissue massage, stretching, and t-sphere massage balls positioned on specific trigger points, all three of which are the basis for Haven’s “Geek” treatment.
Besides relieving pain and tension, these methods increase range of motion and lymphatic flow while reducing muscle spasms and cramping, she explains, adding that it’s important to target the upper body and base of the head as well as the chest and overused hands and arms.
Can’t get in to see a professional? Colleen O’Conner’s tips for DIY massage will have you feeling better in no time. The Elements Massage therapist offers self-healing techniques for four problem areas:
Shoulders and Neck
Reach across with your right hand, resting your palm on top of your left shoulder, with your fingers on your back and with the knuckle of your thumb pressing against your neck muscles. Slowly rotate your head and neck, pressing your neck muscles against your thumb knuckle. Keeping your hand in the same place, press your fingertips into your back muscle between your shoulder blade and spine while rotating your left shoulder blade.
With your shoes off, start by rolling a golf ball on the ground while seated or standing. Roll your right foot forward and backward slowly on the ball. Apply enough pressure to feel a pulling but not so much that you are in pain. Then, roll your foot from side to side. Next, place your heel on the ball to make circular motions. Finally, cross your leg over your left ankle and roll the ball up and down the arch of your foot. Repeat on the other side.
Place a tennis ball between your lower back and the wall. Find the right spot for the ball and then rock your body in a tiny motion – up and down or left and right – to work out knots and tightness in your back.
Start by placing your thumbs on your cheekbones close to your ears and use your fingertips to gently apply pressure to and gently rub your temples (the soft spot between the corner of your eye and your ear). Using very firm pressure and a tiny circular motion, gradually move your fingers up along your hairline until they meet in the middle of your forehead, massaging your entire forehead and scalp as you inch along. Drinking plenty of water also relieves headaches and pain.