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  Bret Bailey, Licensed Massage Therapist  
Bret Bailey, Licensed Massage Therapist
Self Care Between Massages

Easing Back Tension With A Tennis Ball

Tip #1 - November, 2009
by Bret Bailey, LMT

One of my favorite ways to relieve upper and lower back tension between massages is as simple as putting a tennis ball into a sock.

Here's what you'll need:

1 tennis ball, 1 full-length sock.

Making Your Self-Massage Tool:

1) insert the tennis ball into the sock, and move it all the way to the toe end.

2) tie a single knot in the sock to secure the tennis ball in place, and you're done.

How to Use Your New Massage Tool:

1) find a wall space that is flat and sturdy.
2) turn your back to the wall, and ease backwards until your heal is about 6 inches away.
3) holding the free end of the sock, gently drape the ball over your shoulder.
4) ease the ball down your back until it is right at the same level as a knot, or area of back tension (this is usually up between the shoulder blade [scapula] and the spine).
5) with the ball in place, ease the weight of your body towards the wall until the ball is gently pressing into the desired spot.
6) from here, you can fine tune the position of the ball, until it's in just the right spot, and adjust the pressure you are applying to your back by moving closer to or further from the wall. Please be sure not to press the ball against your spine, but to the sides.
7) maintain the pressure and move your upper body in ways that feel best. Experiment, by moving up and down, side to side, on diagonals, or so that the ball moves in small circles around those tender spots. Simply leaning on the ball, and taking deep, full breaths, directing your breath to the tension, and with each exhale, imagine the tension releasing.
8) your objective is to give attention to those areas of tension, and to work gently with your body as you ease your strains and restore.

3 great spots you might try:

1) between your shoulder blade (scapula) and spine.
2) just above inside edge of your shoulder blade (scapula).
3) lower back, (QL - Quadratus Lumborum) on either side of the spine, in the area 1 - 4 inches above your hip bone. Stay closer to the spine (within an inch or two), as pressure further to the sides may hurt your lower ribs.

As with all self-massage tools or techniques, be gentle and respectful with your body. If you experience pain that is abnormal, please call your doctor.

If you experience relief from back pains and tension, continue every other day.

I hope you find this helpful. Please feel free to contact me with any comments, questions, or suggestions - just click here.

All the Best,

Bret Bailey, LMT

Self Care Between Massages - Tips Archive

Tip #1, 11/09- Easing Back Tension With A Tennis Ball

Tip #2, 12/09 - Easing Holiday Tensions With An Epsom Salt Bath

Tip #3, 1/10 - Hot Towel Wrap to Ease Neck Strain

Tip #4, 2/10 - Stretches for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Tip #5, 3/10 - Relieving and Preventing Springtime Neck Strain

Tip #6, 4/10 - Hello Core Strength, Goodbye Lower Back Pain

Current Self Care Tip


"Bret has a magic, gentle, yet firm touch that is at the same time very relaxing and highly therapeutic. I have trouble with tension in my shoulders and lower back, and I always feel that my aches are gone after a session with him."

- Nancy, Designer/Artist

Bret Bailey, Licensed Massage Therapist Bret Bailey, Licensed Massage Therapist Bret Bailey, Licensed Massage Therapist
Bret Bailey, Licensed Massage Therapist
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