yes, to answer your question, my dog thought this was his ball for a minute...
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I've spent a lot of my career teaching clients how to massage themselves with a lacrosse ball, or how to stretch using a couch pillow. There are many ways you can take care of your sore, achy muscles at home by utilizing things we all likely have lying around the house.
As I’ve gotten older, the bougie MT in me likes to splurge on a few fancier self-care items. While I do love throwing my lacrosse ball in my backpack when I fly on airplanes for those long, uncomfortable flights, I’ve also found many tools that I absolutely love.
Here’s a comprehensive review of my favorite tools that will give your sore back some relief when you get home from work and take care of tension between your professional massages.
Okay, they are technically called Yoga Tune-Up Therapy Balls, but I just call them my amaze-balls Yoga Balls.
You get two soft but firm foam balls that come in a mesh case. These accomplish the same purpose as a tennis ball or a lacrosse ball, but the softer texture isn’t quite as invasive if a lacrosse ball tends to give you too much pressure, or if your tennis balls all end up covered in dog slime (like at my house).
The mesh bag allows you to use both at once, say if you need pressure on your sub-occipitals (the tiny muscles that connect the back of your neck to your head) in order to relieve tension headaches, you can rest the back of your neck on the balls as they stay side-by-side, hitting the muscles you want to be relieved and avoiding areas you don’t want pressure on, like your spine.
Check out this video on how to relieve a tension headache using yoga balls.
Use these balls with your favorite foam roller to smooth out tense muscles and hit those sore spots that cause your aches and pains.
Everybody should have one of these.
Its long, curved shape allows you to hit tight spots on your back, the bottom of your feet, or anywhere really that you can't otherwise reach. The knob on the end acts like the thumbs of your favorite massage therapist, so you can hit sore spots and relieve trigger points that are causing you pain.
Keep this next to your bed if you have plantar fasciitis, and, before you walk on your feet in the morning, massage the bottom of your feet with the rounded end so you don’t get that painful, searing pain that PF gives you in your first few steps of the day.
Dr. Berg’s Self Massage Tool
This thing is great if you have pain around the back of your neck and the base of your skull (tension-type headache) like I mentioned before. Like the two yoga balls in the mesh case, each prong goes into either side of your spine (but not on your spine) to relieve the muscles in the back of the neck that tense up and cause those gnarly headaches.
You can also use it to relieve tension all down your back, getting the muscles on either side of the spine without digging into the spine. Using it in your mid-thoracic (middle of your back) area is great if you sit at a desk all day and feel your posture slowly creeping forward.
It also comes with a video tutorial to show you all sorts of tips and tricks for relieving tension at home, so I won't spoil too much more for you!
Zyllion Shiatsu Self-Massage Pillow with Heat
This thing is awesome to stick on the back of your office chair or in your car, or just to have as an accessory on your favorite comfy chair at home. It heats up and the balls knead in a rhythmic motion, giving you a Shiatsu-style back rub any time you want it. (Reminiscent of your favorite Shiatsu therapist, but not quite as good.)
I got my dad something like this for Christmas several years ago, as he’s not much of a massage guy, but does spend a good portion of the day working from a desk.
This is a handy tool to keep around when you just need a quick, easy, warm backrub but your partner says their hands are “too tired.”
Theragun Elite Percussive Therapy Deep Tissue Muscle Treatment Massage Gun - 4th Generation
This one is the most spendy on the list. If you're into splurging on something fancy for your self-care routine today, your tight muscles will love you for this.
The ergonomic handle on this Theragun will help you pound out your most sore spots without tweaking your wrist or tiring out your hands.
With five different attachments, you can adjust the head to fit different muscle groups or types of pressure depending upon what type of tension you’re trying to massage out. It also has customizable speed and pressure settings, and the ability to go deeper on your bigger and more tense muscle groups.
Make sure you read the manual so you don't pound it into areas that are contraindicated for massage, like any important nerves or arteries! It's kind of one of those at-your-own-risk tools, but I've found most people who get them seem to do pretty well with them.
Theragun’s Therabody App also syncs up with your device and gives you wellness routine suggestions based on your own unique preferences.
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