Updated: Sep 19, 2020
We all live in our bodies, and our muscles are our key method of locomotion. We often hear our customers wish they could get a massage every day. If that’s not in the cards for you, it can be very effective to use equipment to treat your muscles, break up knots, boost circulation, improve flexibility, and generally keep your body from feeling like a lump of tissue and sinew crammed into a five pound bag.
There are two key wellness tools we can heartily recommend to everyone the foam roller and the massage ball. If you’re an athlete or work out regularly, you’re probably familiar with foam rollers and massage balls, but even if the last time you worked out was walking to the refrigerator, you and your muscles will benefit from their use.
Foam rollers So what is a foam roller? It looks like a cylinder, and is typically made of dense foam (hence the name). It is most often used on large muscles like leg muscles and the upper back. You use a foam roller by figuring out where exactly your muscles are sore (knowing that the answer might be “all of them”), lowering your body onto the roller, and rolling until you reach the sore point. Then go back and forth until the pressure is relieved.
Keep in mind that foam rolling is not always a comfortable process, exactly. It shouldn’t hurt, but the loosening of muscles and their fascia (the connective tissues surrounding your muscles that often hold them into knots) can be a little uncomfortable at times. Think of it as akin to a deep massage. Now, vibration technology has been added to the classic foam roller, making foam rolling much more effective it’s easier to relieve stiff joints and sore muscles, and loosen fascia through both vibration and pressure.
A classic exercise used by runners and others with foot pain, or foot conditions such as plantar fasciitis, is rolling the sole of the foot on a spherical ball (such as a tennis ball) to relax the muscles and ligaments. Think of the ball technique as a microfoam roller or some kind of DIY trigger point massage therapy. Roll the ball over the sore areas of the foot, keeping in mind that, as with any type of massage, this should not be active pain. This technique is also sometimes called myofascial release.
A massage ball takes this technique to the next level. New massage ball technology adds powerful vibration and an easy-to-grip silicone shell (tennis balls can slide on some surfaces) to allow for enhanced therapeutic effects, leading to better circulation. reactivated muscles and reduced pain. Massage balls, because they are small and precise, can also be good for relieving swollen ankles or tension in the hips.
Wellness technology, assisted massages and stretching.
If you are booking massages and / or assisted stretching services at home, you may want to discuss foam rollers and massage balls with your Livebetter masseuse. Massage therapists can provide tips and advice on how to best use massage rollers and balls between treatments. In some cases, the massage therapist or assisted stretching trainer may incorporate vibration technology, such as massage guns, into the session itself. If you want you can find these items in our store.
The use of foam rollers and massage balls, whether enhanced with vibration technology or not, can be an invaluable addition to any health and wellness routine. Think of them as a multiplier of the effects of in-person massage and stretching, which combine to keep your muscles healthy, strong, and flexible, and decrease musculoskeletal pain and aches.