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Stories of the Body. Part 1 – Shoulder blades

Aloha!

I would like to share with you some Stories of the Body.

Let’s start with the shoulder blades. Many people, including myself, have their “sweet spots” there – knots of tight muscles. My clients often describe pain or tension between the shoulder blades, in the mid-back area. It feels like something is “stuck” or “sitting” there and shoulder blades cannot move freely, also limiting the range of movement of the arms, causing pain in the shoulders, neck and head, or making it difficult to sit straight or breathe deeply.

I think of shoulder blades as wings, because this is what they resemble when they are fully relaxed. Make an experiment: place your hand behind you, around your lower back, and relax your shoulder. In this position, your shoulder blade should be sticking out a good few centimetres, and it should be easy and painless to go under it with your other hand. But if it’s not possible in your case, you are not alone. Many people build layers of tensions around their shoulder blades.

Imagine a bird whose wings have been immobilized, and she cannot fly. This is how I sometimes feel people with tight shoulder blades. Instead of spreading your arms and “flying” with trust, you feel tight, stuck, small, closed. You cannot take a full breath and you feel like wearing a heavy, steel armor on your back. Because this is what tight shoulder blades often do – they protect you from being stabbed in the back. Metaphorically, of course, but they make sure that your heart is safe in a box of muscles and bones. Tight shoulder blades tell me: you will never touch my heart. Nobody will ever hurt me. They also say: don’t fly. Don’t be light. Don’t be soft. Don’t feel. Don’t breathe. Be tough, be strong, be silent, be prepared.

Tight shoulder blades need time and patience to relax, therefore I never work with them in the first minutes of massage. I warm up the tissues with long back strokes, I massage the arms and neck, and only then I move to shoulder blades, helping your wings to move freely. Sometimes they let go and I can massage deep layers of muscles around the bones, going all the way up to shoulder and neck; sometimes not – then I continue working with them when you are on your back – I would be using under body movements and rotations to go under the blade and dig out the treasure.

Working with shoulder blades is often working with the heart, too. When muscles around the blades relax and your wings can move freely, you may feel that your whole chest softens and expands, as if making more space for your heart to open, and for your breath to fill up your body.

 

The best feeling.

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