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Tennis Balls.  Simple But Effective Massage Tools.
 
            Tennis balls as a massage tool are easy to come by.  Most people have one at their house, even if it’s the old slobbery one from the dog.  Tennis ball massage is great to use on sore or tight muscles in between your professional massages.  With a couple guidelines anyone can do self massage with these perfect sized balls. 
           
How to use
Put two tennis balls into a tube sock.  Push the balls to the bottom of the sock and tie a knot in the sock close to the balls so they won’t separate.  Then you can lay on the floor with the balls under you or lean against a wall with the balls between you and the wall.  I like using the wall because I can adjust the amount of pressure against the balls by leaning onto them more or less. 
 
Where to place the balls for massage therapy
 
With the two balls next to each other, the groove between the balls is a perfect place for your spine.  Each ball will be massaging the muscles on either side of the spine. 
 
Back and neck:  You can begin with the balls up at the base of your skull.  This is great for massaging the muscles that get tight and cause tension headaches.  Simply roll the balls down your spine, stopping along the way at the areas that need it the most.  Those spots that are sore and hurt as the tennis balls put pressure there are the spots you want to focus on.  You might feel that “good hurt,” where it hurts like heck but you don’t want to stop.  You are your own best judge of your pain level.  Put as much pressure on that area as you want, sometimes as much as you can take.  Then move to the next part of the para-spinal muscles.  Once you’ve massaged the muscles all up and down the spine you can use those tennis balls to massage any other areas along your back and hips. 
 
Buttocks:  You can always separate the balls and use one at a time.  This is a favorite technique of mine to massage the gluteal group of muscles.  (See importance of glute massage article)    This works best laying on the floor.  Begin by lying on your back with knees bent, feet flat on the floor.  Let both knees fall to the left and place a tennis ball under your right hip.  Slowly bring your knees back to neutral and then over to the right.  You’ll feel your weight plus gravity give a nice amount of pressure to massage the glutes.  Move the ball around to different areas of the buttocks as you continue to take your knees back and forth to adjust the pressure.  Then repeat on the other side. 
 
Feet:  Another option for a single tennis ball is to roll it along the arch of your foot.  Sit in a chair and place your bare foot on top of a tennis ball.  Push down and roll the ball along the bottom of your foot.  This is helpful self-massage for plantar fasciitis.
  
So the next time you see a tennis ball, you might look at it differently.  With a tennis ball or two and a sock you can create a handy massage tool.  Massage your neck, back, glutes and feet or make up your own ways to massage different areas!  Get creative, have fun and then give the ball back to the dog.   


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