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Get the Kinks Out of Your Back With a Tennis Ball

Why you should skip that pricey massage & invest in tennis balls instead

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Get the Kinks Out of Your Back With a Tennis Ball
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  • A few 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 this week when I was paid $120 for a deep tissue massage. 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.

    Since I learned how to massage my own back with a tennis ball, I've come across several people who do this on themselves, including my friend LL, who is a massage therapist in New York City and the Hamptons and who charges $200 for her amazing work.

    If that $2 tennis ball is good enough for her own back, surely it's good enough for mine.

    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."

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