Is there anything better than a good massage? Our bodies are designed to move regularly but we’re an increasingly sedentary society and the current lockdown situation isn’t doing anything to help that.
Stationary muscles held in awkward positions can quickly build up knots while added stress and non-ideal work set-ups can increasing tension from headaches and jaw ache to tight shoulder and back muscles. We all need to create ways of relaxing our minds and bodies every single day to stay on top of this and massage balls are one brilliant way of doing just that.
Using massage balls to relieve muscle tension
Massage balls are primarily used for muscular recovery but did you know that you can also use them during a warm-up? If you’ve been stuck in the house all day barely moving, warming up before going out for any exercise is vital. Muscles don’t like being surprised and warming up gives them a chance to increase their blood flow and become more supple. Roll a massage ball around your muscles during your warm-up and feel the blood working.
The most common way to use a massage ball is after a workout or when you feel some discomfort from knotted muscles. The aim of the ball is to apply pressure to specific trigger points and release the accumulated tension.
Now, it’s important to note that massage balls and foam rolling are not the same thing, although they can be used in a cross-over manner. To relieve one of the most common types of muscular pain, knotted shoulders, you won’t be using the ball to roll really at all. Instead, you’ll be using it to apply pressure and hold it there.
This video from the brilliant Bob & Brad illustrates this technique for shoulder knots perfectly:
This technique can be used in the shoulders, back and buttocks to release knots and free yourself from tension. It’s important to note that massage balls should only be used on muscles, never bones and you should take particular care to avoid putting any pressure on the spine.
One technique to use which does involve a rolling motion is releasing tension in the feet. By placing a massage ball under the foot, you can perform myofascial release and enjoy a deeply satisfying massage.
What massage balls do you need?
Like foam rollers and resistance bands, massage balls are fantastic tools for professional physiotherapists to give out to their clients as well as ideal for individuals to buy and use. They’re cheap, available in lots of styles and easy to carry with you or use at home.
In the videos above, the physiotherapists are using tennis and lacrosse balls. We even read about someone using a potato! Essentially, any ball will do as long as it can withstand significant pressure and isn’t too hard (a stone is going to hurt more than heal!).
A downside to using everyday balls is that you might well be using them for their intended use as well. Every tennis player knows that tennis balls quickly lose their bounce so you don’t want to use a tennis ball that you also want to play with. Old tennis balls are ideal for a while, although they are liable to break or crush.
The easiest choice is to simply buy a dedicated massage ball. Not only can you get them in different styles to suit your problem, but you’ll be able to keep it in one place.
We sell a range of massage balls that are durable and reliable so you won’t need to replace them – unless your dog steals them of course.
We have spikey trigger point balls that come in a set of 3, which provide targeted relief as well as a sister set of smooth balls. Each ball has a different hardness, so you’ll always be able to pick the right one for your issue. Check out our full range of massage balls and soon you’ll be able to stay on top of muscle tension.