Magazine article Dance Teacher

Roll It Out

Magazine article Dance Teacher

Roll It Out

Article excerpt

Self-massage techniques to relieve muscle tension

You've just finished a long day of reaching. Your feet are sore, your upper back and shoulders ache and you've got a bit of a headache. You wonder if it's because you're not in the best shape, whether the stress of juggling too many obligations is taking a toll, or worse-could it be early onset arthritis? Relax. More often than not, the aches and pains are muscle soreness and cramps from dehydration or overuse.

While most of us would benefit from regular visits to a massage therapist, the cost can be prohibitive. Fortunately, there are some simple self-massage techniques done with a pinky ball-a dense rubber ball, usually between 2-2 ½ inches in diameter that can be found in the toy area of drug stores, pet stores or your local sporting goods retailer-that can provide relief at the end of the day. Massaging tight muscles for no more than two or three minutes (always avoiding bruised or swollen areas) will relax and release tension by increasing general circulation to the area.

THE UPPER BACK AND SHOULDERS

Working against a wall or any other upright flat surface is best for targeting the upper back and shoulder area. With your back to the wall, place the ball between your spine and shoulder blades and easily roll from the spine outward to the scapula, massaging the tension spots. Walk your feet out from the wall to increase the amount of pressure. But if you begin to feel soreness, inch back closer to the flat surface. To soothe the top of the shoulders, slightly turn or gently roll the pinky ball on the rotator cuff muscles.

THE PELVIS

To massage the backside of the pelvis area, you can work against a wall as in the previous exercise, or you can work this area by sitting on the ground with your knees bent and your hands behind your body. Place the pinky ball on your lower back and slowly massage the areas from the tailbone to the side of the hips and down to the sitz bones. …

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