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Julyne Derrick

Skip the $120 Massage & Buy a Can of Tennis Balls Instead?

By February 5, 2013

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Editor's Note: Julyne is on vacation. This popular blog post first ran in 2010. Enjoy it again!

Three years ago I spent an unforgettable week at Rancho La Puerta, a fitness spa in Tecate, Mexico, where I learned about the benefits of fish oil pills from Dr. Frank Lipman, tried out Pilates for the first time, got a great low-fat guacamole recipe partially made out of peas (peas!) and learned how to remove the kinks and knots in my muscles using a tennis ball.

I'm not kidding. I took a class at Rancho that taught us how to use tennis balls to massage out the knots in our legs, backs, necks and arms. We learned several positions that involved the floor, a wall and ourselves. I was reminded of the tennis ball trick this week in Tulum, Mexico, when I was paying $120 for deep tissue massages. I thought, "this is great, but the tennis ball is virtually free!"

So how to do the massage? Basically, you place a tennis ball between you and a wall or the floor. You want to place the ball at a pressure point (usually found along either side of the spine, along the lower back and at the top of the back) and then gently move the ball up and down providing just enough pressure that it feels good, not wincingly painful. You can keep the ball on the knots for a few seconds or even a few minutes.

For more information on tennis ball massage, check out this article I found on a wonderful, witty Website on solving chronic pain issues called "saveyourself.ca."

Photo: Digital Vision


March 3, 2010 at 1:56 pm
(1) angel says:

this trick worked!!!! even as a teen i suffer from back aches, this helped so much!!!!!

March 3, 2010 at 5:44 pm
(2) constance says:

My daughter’s coworker recently told her to do the tenni ball thing for here feet.

By the way,what’s the recipe for low fat guacomole?

March 3, 2010 at 11:23 pm
(3) beauty says:

Constance, Rancho gave me the recipe when I left there, but I’ve misplaced it!!!! It involved peas AND avocados and I swear it tasted just like regular guacamole but was half the fat.

March 3, 2010 at 6:18 pm
(4) Pamela says:

I’ve been using tennis balls for years as a massage technique. Here’s what I do with the tennis balls. Take 1 sock from a pair, and put two tennis balls in the sock, and tie a knot on the end. You then can lay your back on the socked tennis ballls, and roll it up up and down your back. It gives you a great simple back massage, and gets your kinks out at the same time. :)

March 3, 2010 at 11:22 pm
(5) beauty says:

Pamela, great tip! Especially because the tennis balls would straddle the spine and most of my knots are along my spine. Thanks for the tip! Julyne

March 5, 2010 at 2:05 pm
(6) Kristin says:

I wonder if you were to go to Rancho’s website, if the guacamole recipe would be displayed or if you could contact someone at Rancho and get it from them.

March 6, 2010 at 1:23 pm
(7) beauty says:

Hi Kristin, I called Rancho La Puerta and they gave me the recipe and the permission to print it!


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