Do you want to see your bodywork therapist today but don’t have the time or your next appointment is a few days away? You can self-treat using tennis balls! I certainly keep them all over (at the office, in my car, in the backyard —oh, okay, I admit I steal my dogs sometimes!!). I use them all the time~they keep me healthy in between sessions with clients and, on those occasions, my therapist appointment is a few days away and I need a pick me up!
Using an ordinary tennis ball can help release tight knots and decrease the pain from myofascial trigger points (an oversimplified definition is an area of hypersensitive muscle tissue). You can also use them to stimulate reflexology zones on your feet that treat various systems of your body. Too, you can use them to stimulate acupressure points to release Chi or energy blockages and stimulate healing & relaxation.
Using tennis balls is not new for treating pain and increasing healing. In fact, It’s the second suggestion (after the use of ice and/or heat for healing) that I have been suggesting to my clients since I began my massage practice . Indeed, a tennis ball is simply a handy tool that you can use in the self-treatment and should be considered an integral component of your self-care plan!
The basic idea of using the ball, is simply to trap it between your body and something else: the floor, a wall, another body part, and a few other creative options. The amount of pressure should be tolerable. The sensation should be clear and strong and satisfying, what we call “good pain.” If you are wincing or gritting your teeth, you need to be more gentle. You should take a deep breath in and upon the exhalation sink just a little deeper into that sensation., Relax as much as possible and wait for the sensation to fade to about eighty percent of the original intensity. This is the “release” — a change in the physiological state of the tissues, or a “melting” of the knot, enhancing the system or stimulating the Chi. This can take anywhere from ten seconds to several minutes.
Even your therapist has many secret “tennis balls” that they may utilize during your treatment. These tools can be as simple as their own fingers or an elbow. Or they can implement the use of hot stones ~ which sends deep healing heat into these areas or tools called “thumbsavers” which help get the depth of pressure while saving a therapist’s hands for a long career.
There are many more self-massage tools and gadgets on the market other than the handy tennis ball. You can explore www.triggerpointproducts.com.
It is best to work with a skilled practitioner at first to use these safely. At Body-Wise, we can not only work with you on a muscular therapy level but also show you those reflexology zones and acupressure points that would be catered to your individual needs. Ask your therapist which tool and points (muscular, reflexive or acupressure) might be best for you. Then, Play till your body feels great!
And remember, self massage is not a substitute for medical care. If you are experiencing pain, chronic or acute, and have had an injury, please seek the advice of a medical professional.