The stress response tenses shoulders and the back of the neck. After prolonged stress they can become overdeveloped, strong and hard. Eventually inflammation or muscle and bone changes can lead to chronic pain. Headaches can result if this restricts blood flow to the head.

We often don't notice that our shoulders are tense until we try to loosen them.

Effort increases tension so there is no need to put any effort into this exercise.

shoulder stretch 1

  • Stand. Standing gives room for the arms to move freely. Sitting down is OK.

  • Let the arms flop and hang loosely with shoulders dropped and loose.

  • With shoulders loose straighten the spine, tuck the bottom in, hold the stomach in, and raise the head to ease restrictions of blood flow to the head.

  • Breathe in slowly and gently for a count of four

  • Hold for a count of four.

  • Breathe out slowly for a count of four, dropping the shoulders further each time.

  • Feel the back of the neck becoming warm as blood begins to flow freely.

  • Tilt the head back. In a circular rotation roll the head gently over the left shoulder letting it drop gently over the chest, then continue the rotation over the right shoulder and drop it back behind and then forward over the chest again.

  • Carry out four of these circles clockwise then repeat anticlockwise breathing easily and gently.

shoulder stretch 2

  • stand - feet a little apart for a firm base.

  • Raise arms in front to shoulder level.

  • Loosely and lazily swing them down and behind and then back up.

  • Slowly and easily let them flop down and back, forward and up, rhythmically ten times.

  • Then rotate the shoulder joints in the vertical plane five times forward and five times backwards for each shoulder.o finish

  • Flop back in a chair.

  • Take deep slow breaths through the nose for about two minutes

  • Breathe out fully like a completely deflating balloon driving out all the tension with the exhaled air.

  • Effortlessly allow lungs to refill.

  • Feel the body becoming more floppy with each deflating breath.

  • Feel the tension leave and the mind become clear as the body goes limp.

  • Take a deep energising breath through the nose,

  • Resume breathing quietly and normal­ly feeling alert.