Getting a massage every week sounds amazing — if we could only afford it. Fortunately, there are stretches you can do at home to loosen up all your tight muscles and feel as good as if you’d had an actual massage. (OK, almost as good.) When you do these stretches to target your hips, neck, shoulders and more, “be quirky and intuitive,” says Wil Lewis, a New York City-based massage therapist. “Every body is different. Move your body in subtle ways within each stretch intuitively to catch the angles and corners of your body that need it most.”
Back of the Neck
While standing or sitting, let your head fall forward toward your chest. Interlace your fingers behind your neck (not your head). While counting down from 20, try to lift your head while you pull your neck toward the floor with your hands. When you reach zero, let go. “Your neck will feel longer and your posture will be improved,” Lewis says.
Side of the Neck
Target your levator scapulae muscles — the ones on the side of your neck — with this stretch from Lewis. Let your right ear fall toward your right shoulder. Take your right index finger and push your chin back until you have a double chin. Lean into the stretch until it feels good, allowing the stretch to expand naturally for 30 to 60 seconds. Switch sides and repeat.