Roll it Out
It's taken me a while to get to it, but it's time to discuss ball rolling. (It's ok if you laugh). No, I don't mean using a foam roller and I don't mean tennis balls, but I mean rolling areas on tension and discomfort out on dense rubber balls intend to bring some relief.
There are many kinds of balls at your disposal, actually, from dense lacrosse balls to small spheres for massaging out the forearms and hands, and it can be difficult to figure out where to start.
Why are you telling me to do this?
Let's start with some questions: If you could have someone massage the big knots at the top of your trapezius every night, would you do it? When's the last time someone dug into your glutes in a massage? How's your IT band feel these days? Do you have neck pain or a tight jaw? Do you wear elevated heel shoes and have sore feet? Back pain? Knee pain? One sided shoulder issues?
Did you answer yes to any of these questions? Then rolling is for you! Without going super in-depth into fascia, adhesions, and knots (which i will definitely do another time), rolling out tissues can restore movement, rehydrate tissue, improve circulation, and create generally a better relationship in your myofascia. (Remember that early post about muscles/fascia/etc?) I wish musicians could have more regular bodywork sessions, similar to professional athletes, but we unfortunately don't get that treatment at a low cost. Ball-rolling is an amazing way to keep that change in your tissues on a daily basis.
Brooke Thomas, a rolfer, wellness lady and movement maven, goes through some of the benefits of foam roller vs. rubber balls vs. lacrosse balls here at Breaking Muscle, so give that a look. I started my rolling experience on lacrosse balls and then moved to Yoga Tune Up® balls, and am now a YTU® teacher, so I may be biased, but I do believe that rolling in general is terrific.
Here are some talking points:
-You control your own roll-out experience, spending as much or as little time and pressure on areas as you see fit.
-Portable and affordable!
-More specific than a foam roller.
-A great way to continue feeling good after a massage, rolfing session, yoga class, etc.
Are you ready to get started? Here's a video that tackles the perpetual knots in the upper back, what I like to call the Trapezius Armadillo. (Violinist/violists have huge knots on the left side!)