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Guide to a Fitter You

Performing Self Massage with Tennis Ball

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Tennis balls and self massage

Everyone gets aches and pains. But rather than going to see an expensive sports masseur, have you ever considered treating painful muscle knots yourself?

The advantages of performing your own massage is that only you know the exact spot that the pain is located, only you know how much pressure to apply and only you know how long you feel comfortable with working on your pain before you need a break. Self-help is ideal in this sense and it`s a good low-cost alternative to sports massage. Using a tennis ball is an ideal way of applying pressure to trigger points, as they are firm, yet pliable and can fit to the shape of your muscle contours well.

Some people suggest you place your tennis ball in a long sports sock, to make it easier to keep hold of. This is an excellent ruse. You can use an old pair of tights or a stocking if you prefer. This enables you to lower the tennis ball over your shoulder until you find exactly the place you wish to massage.

Shoulders and Back

Stand close to a wall and position the tennis ball behind you and between your shoulder blades. Allow the ball to rest between the spine and the channel of muscle that runs parallel with the spine. Bend your knees so that you rise up and down and from side to side, moving the ball as you do so. If you hit a painful area while you are doing this, hold the ball in place over the spot for a few moments. Some people like to take a deep breath or two while they do this. This gentle pressure helps to loosen painful knots. Repeat this process on the other side of the spine until you feel you are loosening up.

Neck

Our necks are extremely vulnerable to muscle pulls and strains. This is where your trusty tennis ball can come to the rescue. Simply locate the tennis ball in the groove between your spine and one side of your neck, just beneath the base of the skull. Lean into the tennis ball and relax. Allow the pressure to ease away the tension. You can do this exercise against a wall, lying down or even just sitting in a chair. You could experiment with using two tennis balls in one sock if you`re feeling adventurous.

Hamstrings

Place the tennis ball on a chair and lower yourself down onto it. You can then roll forwards and backwards on the chair, raising or lowering yourself to give the desired pressure, allowing the ball to run along your thigh muscles and down towards the knee. Don`t go further down than this. You can also roll the ball from side to side to get the maximum relief. Experiment with this area lying down too and find the easiest position for yourself. There are very few rules with tennis ball massage, so if it feels good then it`s probably helping.

Feet

Simply roll the tennis ball around on the balls of your feet for a relaxing massage. You can do this sitting down at your desk and nobody will be any the wiser. It`s better to stand up, however and use furniture to steady yourself. Position the ball just behind the line of your toes and apply some pressure. Increase the pressure until it feels quite strong but not painful. Wait a moment and then slowly roll the ball backwards, feeling the sensations it causes. Press down with your heel when the ball reaches that spot, then move it forward again slowly, about an inch at a time and press down again. Work the ball back up to your toes, pressing and rolling.

Tennis balls are a superb, inexpensive way of treating your sore muscles. You can easily find a supplier online, such as sportsballshop.co.uk or similar. It could be the best investment you ever make in back health.

Edwin Kwan

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