SCM Release

SCM release

Sternocleidomastoid (SCM) release is a targeted self-care technique designed to relieve tension and improve flexibility in the SCM muscles, which run along the sides of the neck. The SCM muscles are responsible for various neck movements, including rotation and flexion. They often become tight due to poor posture, prolonged sitting, or stress, leading to neck pain, headaches, or limited mobility.

To perform an SCM release, you gently massage these muscles with your fingers or a massage tool, focusing on areas of tightness and applying controlled pressure. This technique helps to alleviate tension, improve blood circulation, and promote better neck mobility.

Incorporating SCM release into your stretching or relaxation routine is straightforward. Sit or stand comfortably, find the SCM by turning your head to the side and feeling for the prominent muscles, then apply gentle pressure while massaging up and down the neck. Adjust the intensity based on your comfort level, and use light stretches afterward to reinforce flexibility.

Practicing this technique regularly will reduce neck discomfort, improve head and neck movement, and alleviate headaches caused by muscle tightness. It’s an effective way to maintain neck health and ensure proper posture for daily activities and work.

Equipment Needed: 

  • Open floor or chair



  1. Turn your head to the right
  2. Using the pads of your right index and middle fingers find your left collar bone right where it meets the sternum
  3. Moving superior find the SCM muscle. It is a ropey band coming straight off your collar bone 
  4. Follow the muscle up until it ends just behind your ear
  5. Place your 2 fingers flat on top of the muscle with a slight gap between the fingers
  6. Apply light pressure and glide the fingers down the muscles slightly
  7. Rotate your head back to neutral, then look up as far as you can go
  8. When you can no longer tilt your head back lean your head to the right. You should feel a stretch in your neck under your fingers
  9. Repeat for the prescribed number of repetitions and switch sides


Common Errors:  

  • The carotid artery is close to this area. Massaging it can cause light-headedness or even fainting. DO NOT MASSAGE A PULSE
  • This area also contains a lot of nerves. Manipulating them is not advised. If you feel pain or otherwise feel sketchy feel free to skip this exercise


Progressions / Regressions:

If this is too challenging:

  • N/A

If you want more of a challenge:

  • N/A

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