Who doesn’t love a massage? I must admit, it is one of the pleasures in life that I just wish would go on and on. In my opinion, one hour is definitely not enough and I could literally have one every day.
So why does it feel so good? Well, there have been countless studies that prove that massage decreases cortisol, your stress hormone and increases serotonin, your happy hormone. A great massage can also help increase your range of motion.
Whilst these are powerful reasons why a weekly massage could seriously improve your health and wellbeing, not all of us feel comfortable having a stranger touch our body. This is especially prevalent now with the COVID-19 pandemic making us re-evaluate what the new normal is.
Home workouts are now the norm but could we actually re-create a massage at home?
I’m here to tell you YES! And here’s a few methods you might like to try.
A foam roller is a great tool to literally “iron out” your muscles and fascia (the sheet of connective tissue that encapsulates muscles and viscera). Foam rolling assists in breaking up sticky adhesions in the muscles which, if left, will decrease elasticity and their ability to glide over each other. I must admit I prefer to use a 9 Inch Pilates ball over a foam roller as I find this method more targeted. Would you believe that a good ole rolling pin will work wonders on the legs as well?
Tennis balls, lacrosse balls and even golf balls are great for accessing trigger points. A trigger point is a sensitive area in the muscle or connective tissue (fascia) that becomes painful when compressed. Trigger points can also ‘talk to each other’ so they can also be a point from which pain radiates throughout the muscle and fascia causing referred pain to other areas. Therefore if you release the trigger point at it’s source you can, not only stop the pain in that particular area, but also the ability of it to cause pain in other areas of the body. It is advisable to choose the size ball that suits the area you want to work on. For instance, a golf ball works well of the bottom of a foot. I like to freeze mine as it adds an extra dimension of relief. A tennis ball is great to sit on releasing the muscles and tendons close to your sacrum and hip joints. It also works wonders between the shoulder blades. Try standing with a tennis ball sandwiched between you and the wall and roll, the release is instantaneous!
Remember not to rest on a ball for more than 5 seconds. Any longer and you will be cutting off blood flow to the area which can ultimately prevent healing.
The great thing about body rolling is that you can do it anywhere and at any time. It’s cheap and simple, you’ll increase flexibility, improve posture and hopefully prevent the need for possibly expensive and time-consuming therapy.
If you would like to purchase the 9Inch Pilates Ball that I use please click HERE.