Relaxation for the shoulders

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Last Medical Review: April 1, 2020
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Elisabeth Vincent Hamelin
Relax your shoulders (April 1, 2020)

This relaxation exercise for the shoulders can feel good if you are stressed or feel stiff. You can choose whether to sit or stand while doing the exercise. You can do the exercise in combination with other relaxation exercises if you wish.

When we feel stress and anxiety, it is common for us to tighten the muscles of the shoulders and neck. Often we are not aware that we are tense.

You can practice relaxation in many different places, for example when you go on a bus, when you sit in a waiting room or at your school or workplace.

Short exercise for the shoulders

  1. Sit or stand comfortably with straight back and lowered shoulders.
  2. Take a few deep breaths through your nose and feel your shoulders sink slightly as you exhale.
  3. Pull both shoulders high up against your ears and keep them tense for five to ten seconds. Hold your breath.
  4. Exhale slowly while releasing your shoulders. Let your shoulders relax for a few seconds.
  5. Then repeat the exercise five or six times.

A little longer exercise for the shoulders

  1. Sit or stand comfortably with lowered shoulders.
  2. Extend the arms straight out to the sides at shoulder height.
  3. Bend your forearms and place your fingertips on your shoulders. The fingertips should remain on the shoulders throughout the exercise.
  4. Bring the elbows together so that they rub each other in front of the chest.
  5. Slowly move the elbows forwards and upwards so that they slide apart and point upwards above the ears.
  6. Continue the movement by moving the elbows outwards and downwards so that they fall to the side of the body.
  7. Bring the elbows together in front of the chest and repeat the exercise five or six times.
  8. Finish by taking a few deep breaths through your nose.
  9. It is also possible to do the exercise the other way, by first pulling the elbows back towards the back, up over the head and then down in front of the chest.

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