So you might of seen these little bundle of joy in the shops, on Instagram or been told by your therapist to purchase one to keep on top of your bodies maintenance between sessions with them. Why and what do they do?
Like massage, the balls are designed to massage the body by applying pressure and smoothing out any tension, knots, tightness and stubborn areas of pain in our soft tissue. They are great because of the shape, they can glide along our muscles in any direction and the size helps them target deeper issues in the soft tissue, more then a foam roller. Not to say foam rollers are rubbish, I use both! The beauty of the massage balls is that you can take them anywhere, they are easier to use, they can be used on more of the body and the tend to target deeper soft tissue in the body.
Spike Massage Balls
These are used as you would the smoother balls, but because of the spikes, it acts similar to an acupressure mat. The spikes apply more pressure in a smaller condensed area, triggering stimulation to our circulation thus, helping improve blood flow to the area, carrying new oxygen and minerals to help with recovery or healing. The spikey ball is especially great around the shoulder blade which has many common trigger points surrounding it and often needs a lot of love and attention.
This one is great for targeting bigger muscle groups or, if you want to get a clear direction with the balls. Because it has two balls attached together, you can get it to glide in a straight line without worrying about it rearing off to the side. This is particularly good for rolling over the muscles alongside the spine. A very common area of pain for most of us, so regularly rolling over these muscles will help with your mobility, flexibility, tension, tightness and much more.
It is versatile enough to be used anywhere from the palms of your hands, base of your feet, back, shoulders, anywhere that needs the care. It is a solid ball usually made of rubber, you can put your full body weight onto it if needs be and it will help you. The only flaw is that yes, it is round and can rear off course sometimes so you have to make sure you apply enough pressure onto it so it stays in the direction you want it to go.
I sometimes tell clients to use smaller balls like a golf ball just to get in hard to target places, like that area between your spine and your shoulder blades. This area can be a very small gap for some so a smaller ball is necessary for optimal effectiveness.
So go away, get yourself a set and include a set as part of you're self care kit. I would even go as far to say that this might be all you need to keep yourself ready for the next workout or to keep yourself out of pain and tension as much as you can.
Release tension and tightness
Don't look as dodgy as humping a foam roller
When applying pressure and it hurts to the point where it is unbearable, take the pressure off a bit and it will still be effective. It shouldn't be too painful, just uncomfortable!
You also don't need to look as serious as I do!
Using the wall allows you to do your back but with less pressure as on the floor. This is particularly good for those who are really sensitive.