women

With Wimbledon upon us, why not use a tennis ball to soothe muscle soreness? It’s a cheap alternative to expensive massages

If your recent gym session has left you aching and you don’t have the time or money for a massage, help is at hand. According to sports and Swedish massage therapist Kasia Jay (westminstertrainer.com.uk), the key to relief could be in your garden shed.

Description: Anyone For Tennis Balls?

 ‘Using a tennis ball for self-massage is an ideal way to release the muscle tension that causes pain,’ says Jay. ‘Not only is it affordable and accessible, but massaging with a ball has been proven to reduce stress, enhance blood circulation and lymph flow, and improve the range of movement in your joints, all while promoting the healing and detoxification of your body.’

On the ball

Description: To ease tight muscles, place the ball between your body and the floor, then roll slowly following the direction of the muscle fibres.

To ease tight muscles, place the ball between your body and the floor, then roll slowly following the direction of the muscle fibres. Use gravity to apply pressure, as you relax your muscles around the ball while easing tension and releasing soft tissue. You should be able to sense strong, but not unpleasant pain, which brings fast relief. ‘Once you find the right pressure, try to relax as much as you can,’ says Jay. ‘Slow down your breathing and wait for the sensation to fade to about 70 – 80 per cent of the original intensity. This can take anywhere from 10 seconds to several minutes.’

Beat back ache

Description: Lie on the floor with your knees bent and place a tennis ball on the affected area close to your spine.

Lie on the floor with your knees bent and place a tennis ball on the affected area close to your spine, but avoid placing it directly beneath a bone or on your neck. Use the weight of your body to add or decrease pressure on your back. Move slowly and gently, until you find the right spot.

Ease Sciatica

Description: Sciatic pain starts in your lower back and shoots down your legs.

Sciatic pain starts in your lower back and shoots down your legs. For relief, sit on the floor with your knees slightly bent and place a tennis ball between your glute on the affected side and the floor. Start to roll the ball beneath the muscle, creating a gentle massage effect, without getting too close to the spine. Once you have found a painful spot in your glutes, keep resting on the ball for as ling as necessary until you feel some relief. Roll the ball back and forth along the painful spot and repeat four to five times a day.

Shoulder soother

Description: Lie on your stomach with the ball underneath your affected shoulder.

Lie on your stomach with the ball underneath your affected shoulder. Place your opposite elbow on the ground to stabilize yourself and to help control the pressure, then roll the ball slowly beneath your shoulder muscles. Once you have found the trigger point (the most painful place), hold and gradually release the amount of pressure as the pain melts away. Also try sliding the ball towards your chest – many shoulders injures are a result of tight pectoral muscles.

Release tight triceps

Description: Place the tennis ball between the back of your arm above the elbow joint and a wall, and lean gently into the ball.

Place the tennis ball between the back of your arm above the elbow joint and a wall, and lean gently into the ball. Slide your arm up and down a couple of times, so the ball reaches the top of your arm by your shoulder, and extends down to your elbow. Finish by placing the ball on the most painful point, and then push more firmly into the wall.

No more foot faults

Description: Sit comfortably on a chair with a tennis ball under your foot.

Sit comfortably on a chair with a tennis ball under your foot. Slowly apply as much pressure as you can tolerate as you push the ball into the floor and roll it back and forth from your toes to your heel. Perform 20 foot circles, in both directions, then grasp your foot between your hands and gently squeeze and ‘close’ your hands. Stretching and strengthening your feet this way is great for preventing lower leg and calf injuries. Repeat on both feet, once or twice a day.

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