As a massage therapist, I can't stress enough the importance of learning self-massage techniques. Whether you're a practitioner or a client, ritualizing self-care is vital to maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle. So what exactly do I mean by ritualized self-care? People often associate rituals with the occult. However, in this context, we want to define ritual as a religiously followed, prepared routine.
One of the most potent tools we have in crafting our very own wellness routine is our friend, the lacrosse ball. Why a lacrosse ball, you might ask? A lot of companies put out ridiculous massage balls with spa-oriented branding, extra protrusions, or pliability, where it isn't necessary. The reasons we use the lacrosse ball instead are simple: it's cheap, it's hard, it's smooth. We want something that promotes mobility, not puts tiny spikes in our faschia. We want something that offers support and pressure, not something that yields against our already soft bodies. And, of course, we don't want to pay $8 for something that should really be $2-3.
Lacrosse balls are extremely versatile in how we can use them for self-care. My favorite, and most recommended, utilization is for plantar faschia mobilization. This rite is extremely easy, potent, and not at all time-consuming:
1. Wash feet in warm water.
2. Apply a small amount of lotion to bottom of feet. Allow lotion to sink in.
3. Place lacrosse ball on floor while in a seated position.
4. Step on lacrosse ball and roll it across lines from heel to toe, back and forth.
5. Repeat step 4 but rolling the ball laterally across the base of the toes.
Regular performance of this routine helps with the prevention of bunions, nerve entrapment, plantar fasciitis, tight calves, and general de-stressing of the lower extremity. As feet are the gateway to the lower body, these benefits can cascade up more than you'd believe! All for the price of $2-3 and 5 minutes of your day. This is the most basic use of the lacrosse ball. Other, more advanced tactics for the ambitious, may include trigger point work or pin-and-stretch routines, which we will save for another day. If you want to learn more about how to create your very own me-time rituals, come and book an appointment at Performance & Recovery!
-Taryk Alsagoff (LMT)