In my last article, I introduced the insidious world of body blind spots; areas of your body that you do not sense well. But what to do when you discover parts of your body that have been over used, underused misused, abused and/or confused? In this post, I will be sharing techniques to help begin a self-care practice to illuminate body blind spots.
1) Help students understand that just because one part of their body is hurting, that doesn’t mean that’s the only part of their body that needs care. Recently, a client complained of neck pain and told me rolling it out wasn’t making it feel better. In our work together, I recognized that the problem was actually originating in her pectoralis minor, a muscle on the chest. She shifted her rolling to that location and the neck pain vanished. Together, we illuminated and subsequently eliminated her blind spot.
2) Start classes with skin rolling, light pin and spin, and gentle ball plow. See “The Nine Essential Roll Model Ball Techniques” (pg. 170) of Jill’s book The Roll Model for more information on these techniques. Pin, spin and ball plow are gentle but sensational and will help ease students and first timers to the sensation of Roll Model Therapy Balls. This is also good for seniors, children, and sensitive populations to introduce them to the texture and grip of the balls while simultaneously improving their proprioception.
3) When using newer balls, including the ALPHA, start on the wall instead of the floor which can lessen some of the discomfort people deal with when first starting out. Often, people are stuck in the “no pain, no gain” mentality and starting on the wall can begin to show them results with less pain. The wall also gives people better control to explore the nooks and crannies that can be more difficult to access on the floor.
4) Keep a rolling journal of your sessions. This is an idea I expanded off of Andrew Biel’s (author of Trail Guide to the Body) suggestion of keeping a palpation journal. Experiment with different ball sizes and techniques and record the results. You will develop a better relationship with your blind spots as you track them and be encouraged to pay close attention to rolling.
5) Keep a journal of your classes. Record what went well and what did not. You may even consider asking for feedback on the class and keep a tally to identify easily consumed and highly effective techniques. Include context with your journaling and use the contexts as a spring board for ideas to reach new segments of your population. As teachers, we are challenged to adapt to multiple contexts and what works with one type of demographic might help another.
6) Take class to watch the techniques and teaching styles of as many teachers as you can. They might give you ideas that can change your perspective on a technique or sequence. Their experiences can help make great inroads and see things you might have otherwise missed.
I hope you find these suggestions useful to bringing some clarity to your and your students’ blind spots. What techniques have you found to help uncover and eliminate blind spots? Please share in the comments below and Happy Rolling!