One of the most common complaint areas massage therapist see from desk workers pertain to the neck and back. Having your arms outstretched in front of a keyboard tightens the pecs and upper arms, over-stretches muscles in your upper back and spine and creates many points of pain and tension. Sitting all day in one position has consequences for our bodies, especially when we get tired and don’t use proper posture.
It may be difficult to find the time to get in a full workout when your day is filled with meetings, phone calls, and deadlines. Try incorporating a small daily ritual using this small sequence that is easy to do right at your desk without having to change into gym clothes. Breaking up the day with movement helps you feel less stiff and tired and helps prevent chronic pain from setting in.
Find Your Breath to Relieve Stress
On a busy day, you may notice your trapezius muscles start to clench up closer toward your ears and not realize you are not utilizing your full lung capacity as you breathe. A simple and effective way to relieve stress is to take a few minutes to find a full breath.
With your shoulders rolled down and in line with your hips, place your hands on your upper thighs. Try closing your eyes to help ground yourself. Exhale all your stale air out through your mouth and take a deep breath in through your nose. Repeat this 2 more times. Then inhale through your nose and exhale through your nose for 10 more counts. Notice how your body feels now before getting back to work.
Crescent Moon Side Bend
This pose can be done standing or sitting to stretch your obliques (side abs) and lengthen your spine. With shoulders stacked over hips (and over knees and feet if you’re standing), raise your arms up over your head and press your palms into each other. Keep a straight spine as you aim your hands to the upper right corner and take 5 breaths. Try tilting your view in the same direction to give your neck a gentle stretch. Return to the center before evening out your left side.
L Shape Pose for Lat Muscle Engagement
The “lats” or lateralis muscle is a large sheet muscle that helps stabilize our torsos.
Stand up and stack your hips over your feet with a slight bend in your knees. Stand a few feet away from your desk, so you have space to hold onto the edge of your desk or top of your chair so you can create an “L” shape with your body starting with a bend at your hips.
On a slow inhale, release all tension in your body. As you slowly exhale, lightly contract your scapulas down your back, as if you were trying to tuck them into your back pockets. Repeat 5 more times.
Letting your upper body hang in this pose helps traction length back into your spine, relieving tension in your lower back that builds from sitting all day.
Open your Pecs with Upward Dog at the Desk
From the L Shape, press your palms firmly into your desk. With your core engaged (right under your belly button for those deep transverse abdominals), press your hips towards the desk as you exhale. Take a breath in and create a small arch in your back as you lift your head up and press your shoulders back. Take a few more breaths in as you deepen into the pose.
Bring in a Professional to Demonstrate Desk Yoga for Employees
In addition to chair massage, LoDo Chair Massage can coordinate a yoga teacher to demonstrate desk yoga right at the office. A hands-on demonstration can be helpful for employees to properly position themselves to get the most benefits from poses. Call us at 888-673-2535 to schedule a class focusing on office pain relief today!
About The Author
Hanna Kim has been practicing massage therapy at LoDo Massage Studio since 2016. She ventured into the world of complementary healthcare through massage, after studying Advertising and Intercultural Communications in college. She enjoys combining her passions for writing and wellness, and loves sharing what she learns with others.