Self-Treatment to Un-Slouch Your Shoulders

Most people slouch to some degree (I certainly do!), and we all know that that’s not ideal. To counteract that, there are many images and slow postural adjustments we can go through, but sometimes those are very slow, or the slouching patterns are too deeply entrenched. When that’s the case, some self-massage can be a great tool to help us get those shoulders back to neutral. Here are two (and a half) simple self-treatment techniques you can do to un-slouch your shoulders.

Note that both these techniques are also great if you suffer from breathing issues. If that is the case, go see a GP to make sure you don’t have anything serious, and try those out. I can’t guarantee results because breathing is extremely complex, but it’s worth trying.

Pec major

We will treat this muscle in two slightly different ways, but they both share the same underlying concepts, so I’ll describe one way fully, and just write a few words about the other variation. First, gently grasp your pec minor under the armpit. That’s the big lump of flesh just in front and slightly below the armpit. You can do that on your skin or through clothes, but if you usually wear a bra or a binder, I recommend doing this self-treatment without wearing it.

un-slouching shoulders pec major

Now take your arm back, and rotate it out: with your arm straight, your thumb starts pointing forward, then away from you, then behind you (if your shoulder is quite flexible). At the same time, gently squeeze your pec, while keeping it roughly on the same spot, if not taking it slightly forward. Then slowly bring your arm back to neutral, and release the squeeze.

un-slouching shoulders pec major release oppose

You can use the same image we used when treating the upper traps, and thing of your pec being a sponge filled with dirty/soapy water, and squeezing the sponge, that water flows out; when you release your pressure, nice, fresh and clean water fills the sponge again.

The other variation

A slightly different way of doing it is to accompany your pec with your squeezing hand as your arm goes back.

un-slouching shoulders pec major release accompany

Pec minor

This one is a bit more tricky to treat, and we won’t treat it directly (that’s what massage therapists are for). However, we can definitely help it by gently rubbing its accessible attachment point, which is the coracoid process. This bony point is part of the scapula (shoulder blade), and situated on the front of the body, just under your clavicle.

un-slouching shoulders coracoid process

Find the bony protrusion there, and gently press on it, and circle your fingers around it. Explore how the various tissue feel around it, and encourage them to relax.

un-slouching shoulders coracoid process massage

Continue reading: 5 Daily Opportunities to Perfect Your Posture, The Ultimate Neck Self-Massage, Imagery for Shoulder Posture: Shoulder Crosses 1 and 2.

This post also exists in French.

Want more like this?

Check out the following blogs from massage therapists I know from around London: You might also like these more commercial and global sites:
  • MovNat on natural movement and finding health through re-learning the basics.
  • GMB presents a lot of interesting insight on movement and exercise, from a more gymnastic-y and physio-y approach.

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