Box 3-28: Opening the Shoulder Joints

The “Opening the Shoulder Joints” (OSJ) exercise, shown in Photos 3-27, is a good example of Taoist yoga in that it combines stretching, breathing, and mental exercise. OSJ is useful as an adjunctive therapy for neck and shoulder pain. Correctly performed, within a few minutes of holding the arms outward in this way, a traction effect will be produced. This is an orthopedic technique for relieving pressure on the spine or bones, which can be traced back to ancient times. The practice of holding the technique helps the muscles of the shoulders and upper back release in order to accommodate the arm positions. As habitual tension in the shoulder complex starts to relax, OSJ tugs at the neck and shoulders.