I’m sure you’ve heard a sports trainer, yoga teacher or therapist say that before. Indeed, many areas of our body are connected in many ways. In this post I explore two of these connections, and how you can use them to feel better in your body.
Eyes and neck
More precisely, the muscles around the eyes and those at the top of the neck, who fine-tune the movements of the skull (we call this the nape of the neck). These are linked by very strong and fast neural pathways, so that your field of vision is stable even when you walk, run or jump. A consequence of this is that when one of these groups of muscles tenses up, the other tends to follow suit. Thankfully, the same is also true about their relaxation.
When one or both of these groups is tense, we tend to get headaches (I’m sure you’re familiar with the “headache behind the eyes”). So we can use this connection to release both at the same time for a really powerful effect! To relax the eyes, imagine that you’re looking at really far objects (the moon, the horizon…). To relax the nape of the neck, either do the “glide the back of the neck” exercise from my ultimate neck self-massage guide, or lie down, and firmly massage just under the skull on the back of your head. The advantage of the latter is that you can relax your eyes at the same time with the distant object image.
Jaws and hips
This one is a bit more vague, but the jaws are obviously connected with the gut (they’re part of the same system), and tension in the jaws also seems related to tensions in the hip area, especially the pelvic floor. This can translate into lack of flexibility and stability in the hips, as many muscles there might be tricked into contracting unnecessarily, putting the complex hip system out of balance. Additionally, pelvic floor tensions are also linked with bad posture and lack of balance and stepping up and jumping power.
So if you feel like your hips are not as stable, strong and flexible as they should be, given how you train them, check your jaws for tensions and maybe your hips will have a jump in performance! To learn how to relax your jaws, head to this previous post.
Want more like this?Check out the following blogs from massage therapists I know from around London:
- On The Run Health and Fitness on running, nutrition and sports massage.
- The Soma Room on sports massage and exercise.