Pain in the neck? It’s not uncommon. Paying up for a deep tissue massage might loosen those knots now, but keeping those kinks at bay is best achieved with consistent efforts home. Yogi pro Zoe Green uses her Hurts So Good tool with clients and, having recently tried it, we can attest that it is true to it’s name.

Working with the small, solid wood dowel, Zoe’s protocol mimics the function of a foam roller but is used for super-targeted treatments. Here’s how to use Zoe’s treatment for neck and shoulders specifically. Editor’s note: hydrate like crazy — you’re going to be sore! 

Hard-to-reach knots in your back? Tension building up in your neck? The weight of the world on your shoulders? Stop, drop and roll into delicious deep-tissue release to ease the impact of stress on the body. The Hurts So Good tool and accompanying video series offer self-care techniques to melt stubborn muscles and bring a sense of rejuvenation into the body.

Everyday activities – like sitting for long periods, constant typing/texting and commutes spent gripping the steering wheel – accumulate as unnecessary and painful tension in the body. Even things that should “help” us, like our the yoga practice, our workouts, or playing with kids, can have a negative impact if the tension is left unaddressed!

The Hurts So Good massage tool and its accompanying video series release the deep tension in your neck and shoulders; open your chest; ease your low back; rejuvenate your legs; release your forearms, wrists and hands; and soothe your poor sore feet. The Hurts So Good tool is for DIY bodywork and empowers you to take control and address your body exactly where it aches.

How to Do Shoulder Shudders

A lot of us have tension in the upper trapezius (the shoulder muscles at the base of the neck) and no matter how much we massage through it or stretch it out, it seems to keep coming back again and again.

One of the best ways I’ve found to release that tension for myself and my clients is not to actually to tackle those upper shoulders directly but, counterintuitively for many of us, to address the latissimus dorsi: the big wing-like muscles that wrap on the side of the upper torso and run down the back.

Most of the muscles around the shoulder girdle wrap around the scapula and share a common insertion point — and this happens to also be the place where the lats cross over our sides.

Essentially, the shoulder blades are being propped up by the lats and then pinned up by the shoulder girdle. When we massage this spot near the base of the armpit, the lats release, and some of the shoulder girdle muscles release too. Finally, the shoulders can relax and release down the back body again.

The end result feels really nice, however this is one of the techniques I have that really “Hurts So Good.” Please do be cautious and have a blanket on hand to dampen the sensation.

Lie on your side. Place a thick block at the top of a foam chip mat; it will act as a pillow; this is really important because the higher the head, the less the intensity.

Grab another block. Place another thick block underneath your lat area, and place the Hurts So Good tool somewhere on that.

Lean in. The bottom arm rests outstretched on the ground between the first block and the second.

Tips for Doing it Right

So where exactly does the Hurts So Good tool go? Under the side-body, below the armpit and slightly towards your back — right on that magic spot.

How do I know if it’s the right spot? First of all, it hurts so good. Secondly, you are NOT right on top of any hard boney bones, so the spot definitely feels like muscle — and it should feel a little bit tender.

If you don’t think you have the right spot, you probably don’t! Move the Hurts So Good tool around and experiment. You’ll know it when you find it, but this is a hard one for people to find – so play around! Move the Hurts So Good tool up or down a couple inches, and make sure you’re on a nice, slightly tender muscular area.

a few options for movement:

Slowly rock forwards and back again and again. Likely the farther back you roll the more you’ll get onto a good spot. Bend the bottom elbow, grab that hand and (as if the bottom arm is dead weight) lift and stir the arm. Note: This one can get pretty intense, because we store a lot of tension in these muscles, and we don’t often stretch them, massage them or address them!

So what if it’s feeling too intense? First, get your head up higher. You might also consider using a blanket! Yes, sometimes the blanket is your best friend. Fold it up as many times as you need to soften this sensation, and put it on top of the Hurts So Good tool. Make sure you keep breathing deeply and pushing through — I promise that over time you won’t need the blanket, but, at least to start, it’s good to have one. Also, make sure that when you’re done with one side, slowly sit up. Sit still and notice for yourself that one shoulder feels inches lower than the other.

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