Today is the first Monday of 2015! As such, I’d like to introduce my first theme (of many) – 5’s on the First. 5’s on the first is designed to be a handy intro to 5 quick tips, resources, and much more.
To get started, I’d like to talk about the importance of self-massage. The more you do on your own as a client, the better your massage sessions will be and the longer you’ll feel your results of the massage last. I talk with my clients about this topic daily! Let’s get started..
5. Thera Cane
Although this is mostly only talked about with clients who are familiar with therapeutic tools, this is a very useful tool for anyone. You might need an instruction sheet for the first few uses, but you’ll get the hang of it! The Thera Cane is very useful for those hard-to-reach spots (ie. knots in your back). Many stores sell them nation-wide, and they can also be found online. If you feel like you’re not getting in the groove with it still, take it to your next massage – we love show-and-tell!
4. Foam Roller
These are some of the easiest tools to come by. I highly recommend foam rollers for use with larger muscle groups – glutes, quads, etc. They are great for getting a generalized self-massage. I typically suggest the use of a tool for general massage before using a tool which gets more specific. This allows the fascia and muscle tissue to break up easily, allowing for a more gentle massage.
3. Your Hands, Fingers, & More
Shocking! You’ve been blessed with a set of self-massage tools right in your own body. You’ll often find me working on my palms with the point of my elbow, working on my scalenes (topic for another day, guys) with my fingers, or working around my pec attachments with the palm of my hand if it’s been a particularly grueling day for my upper body. If you need some specific advice, don’t be shy – ask your therapist!
2. Tennis Ball
I’m sure my clients will read this one and roll their eyes – I’m the queen of tennis balls! I proudly keep one in my bedside table, in my car, and occasionally in my purse. They’re portable and help really get into some trouble spots for clients. I love using them to get into hip attachments, around the scapula, and placing two tennis balls in a sock and resting my head on them (placed at the base of my skull). A helpful rule of thumb – keep away from most bones – the scapula and hip are exceptions. Always check with a therapist about exact placement.
1. Foam Ball
Honestly foam balls and tennis balls are tied for my top tools. I absolutely love anything that’s portable. It allows for no excuses to use them! Especially with my world travelers, self-massage is key! I picked up my foam ball from a therapy center nearby – Trinity Wellness Center in Raleigh, NC. (http://www.trinitywellnesscenter.net) The staff was in the midst of a team lunch, but was still kind enough to let me pick up one of my all-time favorite massage tools. Similar items can be purchased online. This foam ball is great for some general, but mostly specific work. I use it mostly on my quads and glutes.
It’s important to keep in mind that we all have different struggles and each situation requires a different bag of tools. Talk to your therapist about your goals and individual concerns.