Guns, balls and rollers!
Posted on 16th October 2021 at 14:18
The assortment and range of self help therapy tools has grown larger than ever...
The assortment and range of self help therapy tools has grown larger than ever over the last 2 years, particularly with the stay at home pandemic habits of many people, and this in turn has lead to an uptick in the use of self treatment products. I always recommend to my customers that they make use of these types of tools at home because obviously they can be used as often as you like, but more specifically they should be integrated into a warm up/warm down routine before and/or after exercise or stretching.
Rollers are a good way to add a more general pressure to the larger muscle groups, such as the quads, hamstrings, calf muscles and the parapsinals muscles that run at either side of your spine, and they can also be used to lie back onto as a means to mobilise the thoracic portion of your spine, which is an area that is often tight and uncomfortable whether it is from lifting in the gym or sitting badly or for long periods at a desk. When using a roller it’s about moving slowly over an area and just letting the pressure spread over the points that feel a bit tight.
Massage balls or myofascial release balls as they are sometimes referred to are for working more specifically and deeper into areas of muscle tissue that feel quite stubborn or uncomfortable. They can be a bit tricky to place in the right spot and keep there, but they will allow a greater amount of muscles around the shoulder blades, traps and areas of the quads to be worked on more precisely than can be done with a roller, and if you have been struggling with a few aches and pains in certain muscles, for example quads, just above your knee area, a massage ball is a useful way to work those areas, simply by placing the ball against your thigh and pressing it into a wall to apply pressure to the area, and this also allows you to be quite good at controlling the position of the ball, which is hard to do if you are lying on the floor. As with the roller, pressure should be applied slowly over a small area, and it can be useful to do this in between sets of exercises or training in the gym.
Therapy guns, or percussion devices, are actually designed to increase the blood flow to a very specific area of soft tissue, they are not actually meant to be pressed strongly into a muscle, but more so to float around the points for a few minutes at a time, the fast tapping of the device on the surface of the skin helps increase erythema (reddening of the skin as a result of more blood being brought into the area) which may help to bring the necessary nutrients to the area and as a result aid with recovery. This is also why some manufacturers of these devices promote them as being an essential item to take in your kit bag to the gym, and use them between different exercises as a recovery aid.
Although I have all these items in my sports massage treatment room, I only use them sparingly as a tool to warm up the area before some very specific hands on deep tissue work. They are designed mainly for you to use at home as a means to keep your muscles and soft tissues in a good place, and this is always good to do, in between your visits for a sports massage treatment :)
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