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Beyond Foam Roller Exercises: Neck & Chest Self Myofascial Release

Palpation Cues

Screen Shot 2015-01-13 at 7.14.49 PMThe vertical bone running up the center of your chest is called your breastbone or sternum. Locate this bone by tracing your low front ribs to the center of your body. Follow the breastbone to the upper chest, stopping at the small U shaped area called your sternal notch. Trace outward onto the S shaped bones called your collarbones or clavicles.

In the upcoming neck and chest release, explore a therapeutic edge in which your breath remains unrestricted and your muscles don’t clench against sensation. As you investigate sensation, allow the mind to assume a soft, quiet focus. Recall that Big Orange is an adjustable tool, allowing you to either increase or ease intensity by inflating or deflating it to your body’s desired level.

Technique Cues

Sternal Rocking

Screen Shot 2015-01-13 at 7.22.54 PMLocate your nipples. You will be placing soma system Big Orange at the level of your nipples. Make sure that you work only in the area between the horizontal lines shown in the picture below. Don’t apply any pressure below the bottom line as the Xiphoid process is located there; Also don’t apply any pressure above the upper line shown on the picture below as the neck is there.

Screen Shot 2015-01-13 at 7.07.32 PMLie on your stomach and place Big Orange under the center of your breastbone. Make sure you are on a bony surface–not too high onto your neck, and not too low onto your stomach. In this central position, drape your back, your shoulders, and your head over the ball for a few mindful breaths. Guide your awareness towards the center of your chest.

Use the movement of your torso to slowly shift the ball to the right side of the breastbone, pushing the muscle tissue away from the bone. Pause… and then repeat on the left side. Continue this side-to-side movement as you gradually work up the breastbone. Pause just below the soft area of your neck, being careful not to compress your throat.

Screen Shot 2015-01-13 at 7.34.52 PMNow start to guide the ball across the right side of your chest… towards the crease between your chest and arm… tracing this line a couple inches below your collarbone. If you locate a tight or tender area under your collarbone, you may choose to pause… turn your head to the left… and rotate your right thumb upward.


Then, on an inhalation, liftScreen Shot 2015-01-13 at 7.47.41 PM your right arm straight up off the floor and away from the ball. Then exhale and lower it back down. Repeat a couple times, then return the ball back to the center of your chest, just below the sternal notch.


Repeat on the left side.

Scalene Traction

Screen Shot 2015-01-13 at 7.50.47 PMSlowly sit up and, using your left hand, place Big Orange just below your left collarbone. Gently press the tool into your chest, placing your right hand over your left hand for stability. Traction the ball downward.


Slowly breathing in, turn your chin in line with the ball and tilt your chin upwards. Breathing out, let your right ear drop towards your right shoulder. Pause for a few rounds of breath, as you continue to traction the tissue and coax the left shoulder towards the floor. Slowly return to center.

Repeat on the right side.

Mastoid Release

Screen Shot 2015-01-13 at 7.59.51 PMLie onto your back and place Big Orange under the left side of your neck  so that it is nestled just below the base of your skull. Turn your head slightly towards the left. You may choose to lightly hold the ball in place. Take five slow breaths, consciously relaxing and softening the neck muscles that are being compressed on the left side. Slowly return to center… then reposition Big Orange on the right side of your neck and repeat.

Repeat on the right side.





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