Got Balls?

No, I'm not talking about hutzpah. I'm talking about actual balls. Tennis balls, lacrosse balls, softballs, and medicine balls.

Why do you need balls?

A couple of regular tennis balls can provide an amazing massage! Tennis balls are a good choice to start with, because they are softer and more gentle than lacrosse balls. (If you like a very deep, intense massage, you might want to go for the lacrosse balls, though.) Softballs are very firm--which makes no sense, right?--but bigger than tennis balls, and can offer a less pinpointed massage.

I recommend starting with a foot massage. We tend to neglect our feet. We shove them into shoes that prevent our toes from wiggling around. We stand on them for hours. Some of us run, walk, jump, dance, and/or pound on them. And most of us pay no attention to them until they become painful.

To begin, remove your socks and shoes. (You can do this massage standing up or sitting down in a chair.) Place a tennis ball under the ball of your foot. Press down into the ball as you roll it from side to side. Move gradually down the arch of your foot, continuing the side to side rolling motion. When you have massage the whole arch, begin to roll up and down the length of the foot. After a few minutes, your foot should feel warm and maybe tingly. This is the increased blood flow. Switch to the other foot. You can do this daily, while watching TV or scrolling through your emails.

Bringing increased blood flow to the feet can help with circulation problems, and can speed the healing process of any injuries. Blood flow brings more hydration and nutrients to the muscles, as well as carrying away waste products like lactic acid.

Tennis balls also provide a great massage for your tense and tight neck and shoulders, your hamstrings, and your forearms. If you need more guidance in discovering how to use tennis balls, you can look this up on Youtube and watch videos of various massage techniques.

Another possibility is to sign up for a class! I teach Foam Roll and Stretch classes on Fridays through Howard County Recreation and Parks. We use foam rollers, as well as tennis balls, to massage all the major muscles of the body. Once you learn these techniques, you can safely practice at home. Join us for a relaxing and rejuvenating experience!