I wanted to provide some additional information about how I was using balls for therapeutic massage.
The two Yoga Tune Up® Balls come in pairs for a reason: you apply them to each side of the spline, starting at the neck and gradually working down the spin. They are usually close enough to touch, but they still it into the two grooves along the spinal column. At a seven locations, you apply different techniques to press into the tissues. The most common movement is to raise up the hips and “chug” up and down or “shimmy” back and forth on the balls. The balls have a lot of give in them so they never really cause pain — unless you happen to hit a knot or trigger point in the muscles. You also incorporate arm movements that extend and contract the rhomboid and trapezius muscles, which in turn press against the balls in different ways.
This self-massage is a valuable learning experience because I am guiding the application of the balls according to the feedback from my muscles and spinal column. I don’t think I could really assess those muscles between my shoulder blades until about 18 months ago. They were frozen in a single block from years of hunching over a keyboard. It’s where I still accumulate tension so regular self massage is both curative and proactive.
Jill Miller has developed a whole set of routines with the Yoga Tune Up® Balls and types of applications, and that can make it fairly straightforward in applying them.
I have also incorporated other balls into my self-massage routines, mainly because my feet were a primary area of concern. I carry a Foot Rubz Foot Massage Ball around in my shoulder bag so that I can use it while working at my desk. I also acquired Rhino Ballsfor a more extreme kind of foot massage because they are covered with rubber spikes that bite into the flesh more deeply (some would consider it a form of torture). The difference is the Foot Rubz has flat spikes while the Rhino Balls have spikes. I’ve also purchased STX Six Pack of Assorted Color Lacrosse Balls
because I had heard that they were less flexible. I am still trying to figure out when and how I can incorporate them into my practice.