In my massage practice, I am often met with clients who are trying to get out of pain. In fact, I would say it is a rarity that someone schedules an appointment for a massage but does not have some recent or long term aches that they would like me to help them work out. What is interesting to note is that there is an equal number of yoga practitioners and non-practitioners who enter my office to find relief in their physical body. If yoga is so effective at lengthening muscles and relaxing your body and mind, why do so many people doing yoga still experience pain in their tissues? For example, take my client for the last year, AH.
AH is a 26 year old male college student and devoted Anusara practitioner. He originally came to my office for massage therapy to help with the continual tightness and pain he experiences in his upper back and shoulders. Although he practices yoga an hour or more daily, he could not adequately stretch the muscles between his shoulder blades (the rhomboids) and get the tightness and soreness to disappear. As the school year grew more intense with papers and exams, so did his pain. His daily postural habits of reading, writing and computer work of course, only aggravated his condition. I knew after palpating his upper back that there were many layers of trigger points (palpable knots within the muscle that are exquisitely tender) to work through and that we would not be able to address them all unless he were to come to my office a few times a week. Not a likely reality for an extremely busy (and financially stretched) college student!
To give these trigger points adequate treatment, I encouraged he try using Yoga Tune Up® Therapy Ball Upper Back and Rotator Cuff kit during his yoga practice time (some techniques from this kit are posted in the video below). This way he could address his trigger points as frequently as they needed and the balls could provide a similar quality of treatment given by a massage therapist’s hands. I also gave him specific instructions for treating his trigger points (see article When Stretching Just Isn’t Enough for more info on trigger point therapy) using yoga and self-massage techniques. After one week, AH reported markedly less pain overall, increased range of motion in his shoulders and upper back and an improved sense of empowerment and confidence for being able to effectively take care of himself whenever he needed. In fact, he experienced so much relief on a daily basis that he often carried the yoga massage balls with him and would even roll on them (quietly) in the library while studying! So whether your muscles are held tensely from life as a student, a parent, or a conditioned athlete, consider incorporating DIY massage therapies on the Yoga Tune Up® therapy balls, and you will be rolling your way to muscle tension relief in your tissues.
Read about self massage for pain.
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