10 Detoxifying Massage Movements to Do with a Foam Roller
Plus, how to use therapy balls to relieve tension.
For those of you who find pleasure in trying out pretty much every sweaty workout, free-radical-reducing, glow-enhancing cleanse and intensive body treatment out there—and survived to talk about it—hand-clapping emojis all around. But have you ever tried massaging out the toxins?
That’s where foam rolling and ball rolling come in—the most non-committal at-home detoxing massage you’ll ever try. Okay, so we have to admit one thing: Just like a deep-tissue massage, it can be somewhat painful. But trust us, the payoff is worth it. For one, your muscles will be so limber that your usual workouts will actually be way *more* effective, and second, because it stimulates collagen, your skin will tighten and smooth. To make sure we’re getting the most out of it, we asked Equinox’s Ariel Kiley to show us how it’s done.
Foam Rollers vs. Therapy Balls
“Foam rolling and therapy balls are both self-massage implements that can remove painful tension from muscles and connective tissue throughout the body. They both enhance circulation, which helps usher debris out of cells and rehydrate tissues with fresh, nutrient-rich fluids. The slow, deep pressure of these self-massage tools stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which overrides stress hormones and brings the body into a calm, harmonious state so it can fend off disease and operate at optimum performance—both physically and mentally.
“The difference [between] a foam roller versus therapy balls has to do with specificity. The broad, flat surface of the foam roller provides non-specific pressure across a large plane of tissue. The various sizes and densities of The Roll Model® Therapy Balls perform much more specialized tasks throughout the body. The smaller balls access nooks and crannies between bony prominences to micro-massage hidden pockets of pain and dysfunction. The larger, soft Coregeous® ball is a safe choice to massage the sensitive layers of the abdomen. The grippy surface of the therapy balls grabs the surface of the skin and teases apart scar tissue, while stimulating collagen and fresh skin cell growth. Because of their grippy surface, The Roll Model® therapy balls can also create sheer between relative tissue layers, leading to myofascial release. Additionally, the pliable texture of the therapy balls mimics the pressure of a skilled masseuse. They are the perfect density to knead your soft tissue into a pain-free, supple state.
“Overall I would liken using a foam roller to taking your car to a regular car wash and The Roll Model® therapy balls to getting your car detailed.”
Foam Roller Moves:
Take the tightness caused by sitting out of your thighs!
Place the foam roller under your upper right thigh with the leg extended and toes tucked. Come down onto your forearms and open the hip of the left leg into a half frog position with the inner knee and ankle resting on the floor. Pump the heel of the right foot forward and back to massage the foam roller into the upper thigh. Keep your abdomen strong to protect the lower back. Stay in motion for at least 60 seconds—until you feel your tissue soften and surrender to the roller. Repeat on other side.
Fast relief after hiking around in high heels!
Place the foam roller under the lower right calf, where the bulky muscle tissue transitions into the ropier Achilles tendon. Bend your left knee and put that foot flat on the floor. Press your hands into the floor to lift your hips, and roll the body forward and back, massaging out tension and bringing circulation into the lower leg. Alternately, cross the left ankle over the right (loading extra weight onto the Achilles). Keep your seat resting on the ground, and point and flex the right foot. 60 seconds, then switch sides.
Smooth the tension out of your derrière!
Sit down on the foam roller with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Rest your hands on the floor behind you, and cross the right ankle over the left knee. Lean your weight into the right buttock, and rock your body back and forth to massage across your gluteus muscles on the right side. Continue your rock-and-roll until your right rump feels significantly happier. 60 to 90 seconds. Then repeat on left side.
Open the chest to increase oxygen intake and improve your mood!
Sit at the end of a long foam roller and lie down so it is beneath the length of your spine and supports your head. Keep knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Spread your arms wide (à la Jesus Christ) so that the back of the hands are resting on the floor and there is a wide stretch across the sternum and pectoral muscles. Take 10-20 deep, long inhales and exhales, expanding the intercostal muscles between the ribs and moulding your body around the roller.
Iron the tension caused by your awesome life out of your shoulders!
Place the foam roller horizontally on the floor behind you and lounge your back, at the level of your right shoulder blade, over it. Reach your right arm long on the floor overhead, and shift your weight to the right until you find a tender spot on your upper outer right scapula. Gently rock your body, ironing out the knotty tissue of your latissimus dorsi attachment from the lateral scapula into the upper arm. Breathe deeply as you roll. 60-90 seconds, then switch to the other side.
Therapy Ball Techniques:
Tame the shoulder tension caused by lugging around your heavy handbag!
Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place a Roll Model Therapy Ball between the upper right shoulder blade and spine. Rest your right arm on the floor alongside your ear. Lift hips to bring the body into a bridge shape. Slide your right arm in a big sweeping side bend to roll the therapy ball down between the spine and scapula, then return to the original bridge position. Repeat 10 times. If the sensation is too intense (this spot is famously tight on busy professionals and new moms!), do the same movement standing with the therapy ball pinned to the wall. Repeat on the left side.
Low Back Relaxant
Soothe congestion in the lower back caused by long rides in trains, planes and automobiles!
Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place the Roll Model Alpha Ball under the right side of your lower back at the level of your waist. Drop your right knee open to the right, while pressing your left foot into the floor until the left hip lifts up, pouring your weight over into the therapy ball. Swish your hips to the right and left to massage the Alpha ball back and forth across the erector spinae muscles and quadratus lumborum in the right side of the low back. Continue for 60-90 seconds until the low back feels sweet and easy. Repeat on the other side.
Massage the knots, pain and pressure out of your belly!
Place the Roll Model Coregeous® ball under your abdomen at the navel and rest on your forearms. Relax your belly as much as possible and slide your hips to the right and left, pushing your abdominal contents from one side to the other. Continue rolling for at least two minutes until you feel your belly relax and let go. A soothing massage to enhance the health and function of your internal organs.
Free the Feet
Take the pavement out of your soles and get the spring back in your step!
Place a Roll Model Therapy Ball under the arch of your right foot. Rest your heel on the ground and lean your weight into the therapy ball. Slowly roll the pinky toe, then the big toe to the ground while keeping the heel on the ground. Continue for at least 90 seconds per foot to dynamically stretch your ankle and massage pain and tension out of the plantar fascia (connective tissue) on the soles of your feet.
Heavenly Outer Hips
Lie on your right side and rest on your forearm. Straighten the bottom (right) leg while resting the left foot on the floor behind it. Place two therapy balls on the side seam of your right hip where the slitted pocket on a pair of trousers would be. Pin the right pinky toe to the ground while pumping the right heel forward and back so the therapy balls roll a couple of inches up and down the edge of the hip. This technique targets the tensor fascia latae, which is a small muscle that feeds directly into the IT Band. Rolling here can relieve hip and outer thigh tension, and also take the pressure out of your knees. Repeat this motion for 60 seconds, then move to the left side.
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