Exercise #56 – Relaxing Exercises and Self-Massage

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Welcome to


Healing T’ai Chi

…the award-winning blog of seated exercises based on Qigong and Yang style T’ai Chi for people of all ages and levels of fitness.


“Do your work, then step back.
The only path to serenity.”


Tao Te Ching, #9, translated by S. Mitchell


April 15th is right around the corner.   Preparing and paying taxes is probably the single most stressful activity of the year.  Stress tends to settle in the neck and shoulders particularly if you’re spending a great deal of time hunched over tax forms at the kitchen table or squinting at your monitor.  The exercise/massage described below combined with slow, concentrated breaths will help to relieve that stress.   

Benefits – The gentle exercises and self-massage in this post will help to relieve tension and stress, particularly in your shoulder and neck area.

Posture – Sit as usual with your feet flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart.  Tuck your hips under you so that your back is completely straight and is supported by the back of your chair.  Be sure to sit up straight but relaxed throughout the exercise session.

  1. Breathe in slowly, then breathe out as you lower your head toward your chest.
  2. Return your head to its upright position as you breathe in again.  Breathe out and tilt your head back.
  3. Continue lowering your head to your chest and gently tilting it backward for a total of 6 repetitions.
  4. Now, breathe in slowly with your head upright.  Then tilt your head to the left as you breathe out.  Continue to alternate sides breathing out on each tilt and in when your head returns to the upright position. Repeat for a total of 6 times.
  5. On the 6th tilt, circle your head (breathing out) toward your chest only and return to the upright position.  Breathe in again and continue to do half circles with your head for a total of 6 times.
  6. Repeat step #4, then circle your head to your chest and back around for a total of 6 times.
  7. Look over each shoulder alternately for a total again of 6 times , then look up and side 6 times, alternating sides.
  8. Shrug your shoulders 6 times, then circle backwards and forward – 6 times each.
  9. Massage each shoulder beginning behind your shoulder and running your hand firmly forward for a total of six times.
  10. While still on the same side, run your hand down the outside of your arm, over the fingers, pausing at the center of your palm for 3 slow breaths, then return your hand back to your shoulder via the inside of your arm. Repeat the movement 6 times, then change to your other shoulder and arm.
  11. Center your ch’i by breathing in (using reverse breathing). Raise your arms above your head with the palms facing the ceiling.  Return your arms slowly in time with your exhalation back to your lap, palms cupped, fingers barely touching, palms facing upward.  Repeat for a total of 3 times.
  12. Remain seated with your eyes closed and breathe slowly and thoughtfully in and out for 3 to 6 times.

Warning: If you have had an injury to or surgery on, your neck, consult your health care provider before you do the head and neck part of the above exercise.

chest-and-head-pressure-points1Use the acupressure point, Third Eye Point (GV24.5), for further relaxation and centering.



  • GV 24.5 is located on your forehead directly between your eyebrows where the bridge of your nose meets your forehead.
  • Close your eyes and bring your palms together in a “prayer” position.
  • Press your index fingers on this point while you breathe in and out slowly.  Hold for at least a full minute.

Benefits: This point is particularly effective to calm the whole body and relieve nervousness and tension.



Don’t forget to drink water at the end of your exercise session or any time you begin to feel thirsty.  A Word of Caution…If you have or have had problems with your kidneys, please consult your physician regarding the amount of water appropriate for your condition.


This week’s featured article from Discover and Recover:  http://www.myfoxatlanta.com/dpp/news/FOX_5_Special_The_War_at_Home_032509

Find great deals on home exercise equipment at the Exercise Equipment Super Store.

T’ai Chi in a Chair: Easy 15-Minute Routines for Beginners is now available exclusively at Barnes and Noble.


Health Tips.

The Health Shack.














~The exercises in this blog are intended for educational purposes only.  Always consult with your health care provider before beginning a new exercise program.~

One thought on “Exercise #56 – Relaxing Exercises and Self-Massage

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