How can a foam roller or massage ball help you, your kids, and everyone around you?

 
So, by now you have probably heard about foam rollers and massage balls… But what do they really do and how do they work? But the biggest question we will try to answer is, what benefits will you get from using them? Keep reading to find out more!

Click here for a PDF showing you close to 30 exercises and stretches you can do with both your foam roller and massage ball to keep you on top of your game and as loose and mobile as you can be!).

Foam rollers and massage balls (whether they are spikey or smooth) are great portable tools that you can use on yourself, whenever you want. They have been designed to loosen your muscles, assist in recovery from sport (or a long day in the office), and increase both the quality of, and range of, movement. Foam rollers can be put into any gym bag and massage balls can be put into a backpack, handbag or even hand-luggage suitcase so they can literally be used anywhere, at any time. Whether you are an active gymnast training 5-6 times a week, a weekend warrior or a desk worker, there are multiple uses for everyone.

How do I use a foam roller or massage ball?

There are a few different ways to use a foam roller and massage ball, the first method is to roll over the target area in a slow rhythmic motion. The second method way is to roll over the sore or tight muscle and then pause over tender points and wait for the muscle to relax. You can also help to mobilise or move the joints in your spine using a foam roller by stretching your spine over a foam roller at different parts of your spine, allowing your body to stretch over the roller.

How does it work and what are the benefits?

Without getting too technical, a foam roller or massage ball increases local pressure within a muscle. This causes the brain to send signals to the part of the muscle responsible for sensing changes in muscle tension, which in turn responds to the increase in tension by telling the muscle to lengthen and relax. When your muscles are being overused – either repetitively or through poor posture, your muscles will become tight and knotty. These knots reduce the ability of the muscle to be able to relax properly which means that they become even tighter. Using a foam roller or massage ball after exercise can help to break down these knots and improve your range of movement and decrease any pain you may experience. The same goes for those overworked muscles in your upper back, neck, shoulder sore lower back after a long day studying or working at a computer. Foam rolling or using a massage ball regularly can help these knotted areas become looser, helping to manage postural aches and pains. 

When would I use a massage ball rather than a foam roller?

We, at ProActive Osteopathy have found that massage balls are amazing at getting into those smaller, harder to reach areas that can cause so much grief, such as the shoulder blade, back of your neck or deep within your hips or back muscles. Pairing a foam roller with a massage ball will have you covered from every angle and with every muscle and joint in your body. 

Can you show me how?

Absolutely.

Whilst it may sound like we are trying to sell ourselves out of potential new clients or a job, we have found that when our clients incorporate the use of a foam roller and massage ball as well as manual therapy such as Osteopathy or Remedial Massage, recovery from any injury or muscle tightness is much quicker rather than just waiting to see what happens or putting up with the every day pain.

Check out this PDF file showing you almost 30 different ways to use a foam roller and massage ball. If you have any questions please check out our website at www.proactiveosteopathy.com.au as all of our contact information is on there. 

What happens if foam rolling and using a massage ball isn’t enough?

You can book in online with one of our talented Osteopaths or Remedial Massage therapists and get them to give you a full body examination and treatment – there may be something that you just can’t quite get to that is holding you back from feeling fantastic. If you do decide to come and see us, mention that you are from Gymnastics Victoria and you will get 20% off of your initial treatment and a 10% off of any further treatments – that’s what we call a win-win!