Shoulder Stretch and Release

The video below accompanies the last several  blog entries in which I wrote about how the  “corocoid corner” affects the stability of our shoulders and arms, and about the relationship between our arms and our hearts.  The tissues that clasp the corocoid process need to be pliable in order for the upper arms to seat properly in the gleno-humeral fossa (the shoulder socket).  When pectoralis minor and biceps brachii are chronically shortened and glued down around the corocoid, the humeral heads (tops of the upper arms) slip forward in the sockets. While this capacity of the shoulder joint lets us reach out for things, the position should be part of a temporary gesture.  For stability of arm and shoulder, the humeral heads should rest back into the socket as deeply as possible. The video shows one way to open up the corocoid area. You'll stand sideways to a wall with your elbow and forearm resting on the wall, upper arm perpendicular to your body axis.  It will be easiest for you to see the shoulder do’s and don’ts I’m trying to show if you try the stretch along with me.

First Aid for 'mouse arm'.
First Aid for 'mouse arm'.

This stretch is a variation of the stretch on p. 129 ofThe New Rules of Posture.  The elbow version targets the upper arm and chest.  Both versions stretch deep fascial pathways that run down your arms:  from your neck along the triceps side to the little finger, and from the corocoid along the biceps side to your thumb. Keep your palms open and flat against the wall to involve the full extent of these fascial lines.  The burning sensation you may feel indicates that you need this stretch.

Be sure to breathe into your side and back ribcage to get the most release out of the stretch.  Remember that breathing massages your heart with your lungs.  And, every exhalation links to the part of your nervous system (parasympathetic) that helps your tissues relax.  Holding your breath while stretching is counterproductive.

Do this daily for a while.  After every stretching session, stop to feel the sensation of spaciousness across your upper chest, the change in your arm swing, the change in your point of view. Perceiving the effect of the stretch is what changes the mapping in your brain, so if you rush through that part, you'll miss the point.

© 2013 Mary Bond