Any object you use to knead, compress, stroke, or prod your body without breaking the skin is a stress-transfer medium—a massage tool that attempts to mimic the touch of another human being. Throughout history, people have used objects to rub out their aches and pains. The oldest device found to date, a Neolithic jade ritual blade from China, is thought to be from 2000 BCE. Special sticks, stones, ropes, vibrating tools, and fabrics have been used for self-soothing for generations. It seems that everything old is new again, and self massage implements continue to be popular, slightly redesigned according to the medium of the day.
After years of trial and error, Jill Miller found a ball made from the right grippy rubber coupled with a pliable density with just enough squish to tumble into all the issues in her and her students’ tissues and The Roll Model Therapy Balls were born. They come in a variety of sizes to target different regions of the body for your desired pressure effect. Learn about the different ball sizes and the three significant features that make the therapy balls effective in the infographic below (click infographic to view full size).
Liked this article? Read Good Posture: Do You Have It?
It would be interesting to see the evolution of the massage tool. As a licensed massage therapist of over 15 years I have owned so many different tools, and can honestly say that the roll model therapy balls are a game changer.
I started self-massage using tennis balls over 20 years ago. Although I learned how to use them fairly effectively, I also found the texture to be unpleasant on my skin and would only use them through safe fabric clothing which can get tangled and bunch up. The roll model balls feel MUCH better on bare skin. After more than 20 years, I can roll naked and comfortable 🙂
It’s not surprising that massage has such an ancient history.. and is beautiful to see the ways we are connected with the humans that came before us!
I love using the yoga tune up balls for self massage. I would love to see the Neolithic jade ritual blade, and how it was used for massage, intriguing.
I liked hearing or being reminded it is through trial and error that success is born. In a day and age where perfection infiltrates all areas of life from perfect looking vegetables to the perfect looking fiqure and the perfect looking lawn. Which brought gmo’s, chemicals, and loss of individuality and creativity. A quick, temporary mask instead of putting in the effort to get to the root. This is one of the many reasons why YTU became a priority in my life. It creates self -awareness, self-healing, self-care and the ability be your true self in a supportive, knowledgable and caring community focused on a better life rather then masking a problem or a quick fix. It takes time and effort but results are profound and life lasting. One thing I had not thought of was how nutrition can impact fascia and the tissues. Which is obvious now and something I look forward to learning more about and integrating it into my tool box more.
The Yoga Tune Up Balls have changed my life. I work on my feet as a grocery store cashier and bagger. Massaging my feet, calves, quads, back, arms, shoulders, hands, forearms with the yoga tune up balls warms me up for work and helps soothe and unwind my tense and strained body after work. I feel more rooted as I stand and less tight and sore. I highly recommend using these yoga tune up balls to warm up and unwind your body before and after a job that involves extended periods of standing or sitting.
The Roll Model Therapy Balls are such a useful self-massage tool. They are portable, discreet, and easy to use. I love the precision and ability to manipulate the pressure. Nothing has given me so much relief in my traps, rhomboids and rotator cuff muscles as Roll Model Therapy Balls.
I would love to see a more in-depth post about the evolution of self massage and movement therapy techniques throughout history! Such an interesting perspective to think about YTU in the context of more ancient self soothing practices and tools.
I keep the full set and put them to good use any chance I get. I keep them in the car, and routinely with the kit that goes with blocks and a mat, and it is easy to watch PBS while rolling along to Downton Abbey or Poldark. I also use them for restorative work in a quiet home practice setting. For some of the exercises, particularly shoulders, I like to use the larger size, and use an alpha-sized set to roll it out. This has been a blessing for me, and part of my recovery from SI injuries. I like to work the hip and posterior leg muscles and combine the shoulder work with asanas such as bridge, but my favorite is to work the feet (they need the work), trying to turn the tuneup balls into ellipsoids! The yoga instructor who introduced me to tuneup balls in class made sure we rotate ’em, just the way one does with the tires.
A blade for massage? Sounds dangerous! I’m curious as to what it looks like and how it was used. So interesting that various objects from many years have been identified as self massage tools. Then again, being touched and especially in a soothing manner is so essential to our health and well being. I notice that when I teach. Some students are so willing and thankful to be touched while others tolerate it or recoil. Those are the ones who most need to be touched and soothed. It may just take time to remove barriers and build trust. A friendly hug is the best medicine of all!
Wow!! Very interesting to learn how these types of massage tools have been around for so long. I recently started using the yoga tune up balls and love how they feel. However I have a hard time zeroing in and getting the yoga balls to massage the area of pain. Any tips on how to message the mid trapezius muscle using the yoga tune up balls?
Wow!! Very interesting to learn how these types of message tools have been around for so long. I recently started using the yoga tune up balls and love how they feel. However I have a hard time zeroing in and getting the yoga balls to message area of pain. Any tips on how to message that area using the yoga tune up balls?
Fascinating that such old massage tools have been found. This info graphic is extremely useful- I will share it with my students. I’d love to see more info graphics for other YTU/massage/yoga/body stuff in the future!
This is fantastic. I’m sharing all over! ?
I love this infographic. It is includes everything you need to know about the Roll Model Therapy Balls especially when you are a first time Roller. It is a great a short and sweet way to get people to understand what they are, what they do and how they work. I am a Big Balliever!!!!
I would LOVE to see an image of the above mentioned Chinese Neolithic jade blade!
It’s very interesting to find out that self therapy goes back all the way to 2000 B.C. For years human beings have been looking for relief, and now Yoga Tune Up teaches you how to do it yourself! Awesome!