Your arms (and one part you can massage yourself)
It’s the last day of our muscle series! Today we talk about the muscles of the arm, forearm, and chest.
The rotator cuff is actually a group of four muscles surrounding the scapula (shoulder blade) that stabilize the scapula and also extend the shoulder, helping to create the motion of rotation. There are four muscles, outlined in the diagram above:
Supraspinatus, which is the most likely to suffer tendonitis, above the bony ridge of the scapula;
Infraspinatus, which fans out just below the bony ridge of the scapula;
Teres minor, just below infraspinatus at the bottom of your scapula; and
Subscapularis, located between your scapula and your back
. This is the muscle most likely to suffer an acute injury because we use it when we use our hands to absorb the impact of a fall. This muscle also shortens when you sit with your shoulders rolled forward.
Massage can help loosen these muscles, which helps alleviate the pain and strain associated with injuries of overuse as well as those that result from breaking falls. (For more on working subscapularis, see https://www.flowholisticwellness.com/single-post/2018/08/13/When-the-way-to-your-back-is-through-your-armpit.) We use our shoulders all the time, so no massage would be complete without spending extra time on the rotator cuff.
The pectorals lie on the anterior (front) side of your body and connect to the front of your shoulder and all around the chest wall. When we habitually roll our shoulders forward, these muscles become shortened. I know some great stretching techniques that lengthens the pectorals and alleviates tension. This reduces pain here. The added length also helps your shoulders lie farther back, which gives you better posture and fewer back and neck problems in general.
The muscles in your forearm flex and extend your hand and rotate the lower half of your arm. We won’t talk about individual muscles (there are so many!). Instead, we will talk about the flexor muscles, which curl the palm of your hand upward; and the extensor muscles, which curl the back of your hand upward. Needless to say, they get a workout! The good news is, not only can I work on forearms, but I can teach you how to work on your OWN forearms. Let me show you next time you come in.
There are 650 muscles in the human body. The past few weeks, we have discussed muscles in fairly broad terms. We’ve left many out, and we’ve gone light on anatomical terminology. Your massage therapist is trained in all these terms and in knowing where these muscles are and how to access them in a way that is comfortable and therapeutic for you and keeps you safe. If you have any questions, or if you would like to set up your session or schedule a free 30-minute consultation, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call or text 720-432-8664.
Be well, healthy, and whole!