Every time something takes us by surprise or we work ourselves up with worries and stressors that we won't let go of, just keeping it in the front of all thoughts, the body responds (sympathetic nervous system response) with the production of adrenalin to keep us going.
Adrenalin is great for that need to take flight and save yourself or in acts of true heroics like lifting a car off a trapped person. Adrenalin is also eventually very exhausting and weakening to the body when it is continuously in production.
STEP ONE. Calming the mad production of adrenalin. Right now place both your hands on your back with palms covering the twelfth ribs (the last ribs of the back). Or if you have a partner sitting next to you have that person lovingly place their hands on your last ribs (Bonus if they have big hands. Have the hands extend into the lower back, but make sure the ribs are covered).
STEP TWO. Keep hands on your back and take a slow deep breath. Nothing fancy, just use the nose for the slow in breath and the slow out breath. The breath needs to be large. If you were a kitten you would be purring. The throat is full with air as it moves slowly. A breath that fills past the lungs into the abdomen. Take a pause between the in breath and the out breath.
When you take an easy slow breath your body is given the signal that you are ok, everything is calm. Your body changes (parasympathetic nervous system response) to match your breath.
STEP THREE. Continue to hold the twelfth ribs and breathe slow and calm. If you can manage this for fifteen or twenty minutes or longer your body will have been given the time it needs to get vital functions back on line to what we think of as normal and balanced calm.
You will notice after doing this exercise a need to urinate. By calming the adrenal glands that sit atop the kidneys you will have set in motion a calming effect to many bodily functions releasing the tension that held them captive. The tension from the adrenals being continuosly active put a pull on internal ligaments, tendons and muscle structures that create muscle ache in the hips, up the back, shoulders and neck (the reason you came for a massage; emotional hyper vigilant muscle tension)
An alternative to hands on the twelfth ribs; use a heated wheat bag or heating pad. Hands are best when available. There is nothing that can compare to the loving caring touch of one person to another, or from your loving self to yourself.
Do this exercise every night for a month. Notice the difference. Do this anytime of the day you need the calm to come in. Doing this in the evening before sleep will help you sleep.
A massage for this kind of tension is not usually deep. Your emotions are on the surface of the skin. Relaxation will be more effective to calm and balance the body. Supporting what you need in this moment. Remember you are in charge of this massage. Where ever you go, what ever table you get on, you say what you need. This massage moment belongs to you. If you like and are accustomed to deep massage work, but now you are stressed, you don't want that first deep stroke to make you curl up at the end of the table in a fetal position. Say you are stressed and need to relax.