My yoga journey started 15 years ago after a bad bike accident left my left side completely weak. With no strength in my left side at all, I hoped yoga would relieve the pain and strengthen my shoulders and arms. As expected, Yoga helped with the strengthening part, but no matter how much I did, how much “letting go” I tried, my shoulders were still constantly locked up.
Fifteen years of chronic shoulder, neck and back pain and lots of treatment later, my neck and shoulders still felt no differently. I owned every single massage tool and gadget available on the market and my husband even joked that I was single-handedly keeping the massage tool industry alive! I took classes and studied therapeutic forms of yoga, but no matter what I did, what treatment I underwent, my neck and shoulders constantly hurt from being tight, or a pinch in the nerve. There were even times I couldn’t turn my head.
I finally found a sports therapist Dr. Steve Capobianco who helped with my shoulder and neck and also introduced me to the therapy balls. He worked the tissues in my shoulders and also showed me how to roll out the areas of tension and the knots in the neck. Together with his wife Robyn, they founded Functional Flow, and I learned and studied more about how the body is connected through different fascial chains and layers. I discovered that rolling out my feet released tension in my hamstrings, lower back, and even my shoulders! It was wild!
I started to roll my feet and shoulders every day and slowly saw improvement. I could feel every knot in my shoulder as the balls rolled over every tight bump! Whenever I feel an ache or tightness coming anywhere, I go to my balls. They have helped to relieve tightness everywhere one could imagine. They have become my best buddies – hence the name. I go everywhere with them, and have them on the plane with me when I travel. On long drives, sometimes I even put them between my back and the seat.
As a prenatal yoga teacher, I hear time and again that women assume that just because they are pregnant they expect to experience back pain. My goal is to help moms-to- be relieve their pain by teaching them the correct moves and strengthening they need to feel better. Teaching my class is one conduit for me to introduce these amazing therapy balls to women who need them. Mind you, of course anyone with a body could benefit from them!
Don’t underestimate these little buddies! While they look like any ‘ol ball, everything about them is chosen for a reason. Their rubber surface is meant to be grippy, so it grips to the skin and underlying fascial layers and also the wall or floor surface that it’s being rolled on. Its density is also chosen so that they are not too hard, but have some give under a person’s weight. Too soft though, and it doesn’t give enough pressure into the muscles. The size is also meant to replicate a massage therapist’s thumb pressing into a sore spot. They are also small enough so they fit into body’s nooks and crannies.
Try them out, I hope they become your best buddies too!
Learn how to get the most out of your own Tendher Buddies at Jackie's workshop on June 25, 2017.