Who doesn’t love a massage?! We know that sometimes it can be tricky to find time in your day to book an appointment, but thankfully there are self-massage techniques that you can perform at home (or at work, or in the car, etc.) to help you maintain your muscular system in between visits.
Spikey balls, often referred to as ‘little torture balls’ (haha!), are small, spike-covered massage balls that can be used to relieve muscle tightness which in turn promotes flexibility, better posture and improved circulation.
DO NOT USE a spikey ball if you have had a recent injury which has broken the skin, caused inflammation, or if you have severe bruising. Before getting started it’s best to check in with your practitioner to ensure that particular exercises are safe for you to do.
How to use your spikey ball
Spikey ball exercises are designed to promote muscle relaxation by using your own body weight to apply pressure to trigger points or specific areas of tight muscles. Each exercise should be performed around 1-3 times per day, so long as this does not cause or exacerbate any pain. The action may cause slight discomfort but should be pain free so don’t push yourself through any unpleasantness – it’s counterproductive and nobody wants an injury, let alone a preventable one!
Go gently to start with and if possible perform exercises on a soft surface, such as a couch or bed. This will allow you to tailor the amount of pressure you apply and slowly ease your body into each exercise. As you progress, and provided it does not cause or increase any pain, you may move to a harder surface and/or increase the duration and frequency of each exercise.
Over time your flexibility will improve, your muscles will feel lighter and more relaxed, and you may find that the treatment you receive from your remedial massage therapist will be maintained for longer between appointments.
Exercises for common areas of tightness:
Stand against a wall, placing your spikey ball between your upper back muscles and the wall. Roll over the ball, focussing your pressure on any areas of tightness. Be sure to only apply pressure to the muscles and not directly to your spine.
Position yourself against a wall or door frame and place your spikey ball half way between your nipple and shoulder. Direct your body weight and rock slowly from side to side.
Lay down, face up with knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Place your spikey ball under one side of your buttocks and slowly roll until you find an area of tightness. If it feels tender roll gently over the area but if you feel comfortable and would like to increase the pressure, drop your knee out to the side and slowly bring back up again. Repeat this action several times before swapping sides.
Lay on one side with your lower leg straight and your upper leg bent with foot flat to the floor for support. Use your arms to prop up your upper body and place your spikey ball into the fleshy part of your buttock near your hip. Use your body weight to gently direct pressure and slowly roll in circles over any sensitive areas.
Remove your shoes and sit comfortably in a chair. Place the spikey ball underneath your foot and roll the spikey ball from your heel towards your toes and back again, applying more body weight to any areas of tightness.
To learn more about how to effectively incorporate spikey balls into your daily routine, book an appointment with a remedial massage therapist by calling 03 9596 9930.