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tennis ball massage - set it and forget it!




in the march edition of "i've got your back" we talk about my favorite home remedy - the tennis ball massage! savvy readers may recognize this from a previous post, but i often hear folks tell me proudly that yes, they have been doing it, but doing it all wrong! now really, there's not a "wrong" way to do it, but i'd like to propose a better way :)


:: the "wrong" way ::


mainly, folks are trying too hard! moving too much, on a surface that's too hard. foam rolling and the like can be a great part of your physical routine, but this is meant to be something else. so if you're really working that tennis ball around, rolling on it too much, feeling like it hurts (even "hurts so good"), using it on the floor ... allow me to show you another way to use the tennis ball!


:: another way ::


this is the "set it and forget it" method. find something soft to sit or lay on, like a couch, a bed, a favorite armchair. (( i actually know a lot of people, myself included, who keep a tennis ball in the cupholder of their car and use it while they're driving! )) so, you've got a comfy surface. next, place the tennis ball under a muscle that feels a little tight or like they could use a little tending to. this is often somewhere in the glutes, but you can also do this with your hamstrings or your low back (if the back of the chair is soft). you can also lay on your front and put it near your hip bone / groin to get at your psoas or iliacus.


you should be able to forget that it's there! relax your whole body, let everything be easy


leave it for 3-5 minutes


this shouldn't feel like a pebble in your shoe, annoying and waiting to get it out. you should be able to soften and melt over the gentle pressure


as soon as you feel it, you've found it. by which i mean, you know where those little spots are that could use some loosening! you'll place the ball there and then just let it be


doing nothing can be really challenging! watch a show, read a book, let your mind wander


i recommend keeping a tennis ball in a place where it's easy to do this, where you have time seated or lying down and it's easy to pick it up! maybe in bed at the end of the day reading, maybe the cupholder of your car for a long commute, maybe next to your couch.


you may feel like nothing is happening - that's ok. once you remove the tennis ball, you'll be amazed at how much has changed! move it around to various spots in your bum, hips, and low back as much as you'd like


if you have any questions, about these practices or others, don't hesitate to reach out! my email is drstephvos@gmail.comand i love to chat about bodies :)



listen to the full interview here and stay tuned the last wednesday of the month for "i've got your back" at 8:20(ish) on wtip.org's north shore morning show!



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