4/12/11

Decent Mom Posture: The Roller/Pinky Ball Cult

I thought I could get through doing my posture series without doing this but I can't go any further without introducing you to two of my best friends:


I love a good massage. I used to give a couple a day, up to 6 days a week. I used to receive at least one a week. Massage was a huge part of my life and I deeply believe in its ability to alleviate pain, resolve postural issues and support a positive mood.

However.

Damn if it isn't expensive and time consuming and darn near impossible to get a massage as often as one would like, am I right?

So, in addition to stretching and strengthening, I do a TON of self-massage and I'm going to teach you how to do some on yourself, too.

Releasing tension from muscles is a great accompaniment to stretching (and strengthening). You know those muscles that are clenched so tight they resist even your kindest, most persistent stretches? Try massaging those puppies first. They might be more likely to let go, easily, all on their own.

The first thing I always start with are my feet. Every mother I know is on her feet All. Day. Long. Whether you are in an office or "at home", you probably rarely sit down. So be kind to your feet. They are the basis for good posture and a youthful gait.

I use a Super Pinky ball. It's softer than a tennis ball but about the same size. I know other folks love tennis balls or even golf balls but they're too hard for me.

Stand barefoot, weight on both feet. Place the pinky ball under your foot, just in front of your heel and try to rest as much weight as possible onto the ball. Imagine you are standing equally on both feet, even if that's not exactly p0ssible. Hold it there for at least 30 seconds. Breathe.


Slowly move it to the center of your arch, equidistant between your heel and your toes. Breathe.


Lastly, rest your heel down and let the pinky ball press into the ball of your foot. You will most likely also get a killer calf stretch.


You can finish up with a slow roll from heel to toe, pausing wherever you've got crunchy stuff. Like all massage, it should only be a good, deep pressure that you can relax into, not painful. With that said, don't be afraid to FEEL some serious crap in those feet of yours.

My favorite part? After rolling out only one foot, stand on both legs and close your eyes. Feel the difference between the two and let your mind be blown.

The pinky is awesome for so many things. Try sitting up and placing it under one butt cheek. Massage around until you find a tender spot and then pause and breathe.

You can also place it between your back and the wall and massage your lower back (on either side of your spine), and between your shoulder blades and your spine. Ahhhh.....

Okay, next up: the roller.

I love this thing. It's easy to find at medical supply places and most gyms have them these days.
Buy it for this stretch alone:


Lie on your back with the roller along the center of your spine (you can't quite see it in the photo but my head is on the roller as well.) Open your arms out like you're making snow angels until you find a spot where you feel the deepest stretch. Hang out there and breathe until you're positive your arms are going to fall off your body. To get off the roller, slowly lower yourself to the side rather than trying to sit straight up.

Use the roller for self massage of your back.

(Why yes, Z took these photos too, just like last week! And these are the same pants! I love 'em!)

Keep your bottom off the floor and your head supported by your hands. Roll forward and back, pushing with your feet. (Yep, your abs work a little in this one.)

Pause with the roller under your shoulder blades, lower your hips to the floor and let your back drape over the roller.
(And yes! That is a padded bra!)

Last but certainly not least, try rolling out your IT bands. These thick bands of connective tissue run along the length of your outer thighs.

(Hey Z. Hold the camera still and then push the shutter.)

Slowly roll from just above your knee to the very top of your hip, keeping the pressure toward the front of your leg. The top leg is bent so you can take some of the weight if it's too much on your bottom leg. Also, feel free to drop onto your elbows if this is rough on your wrists.

Unfortunately, unlike everything else I'm recommending to you, if you find this excruciatingly painful, you're doing it right. Just know that it's really good for the health of your hips, knees and back to soften and lengthen your IT bands and they just don't stretch well. Massaging them, while painful, is very helpful.

2 comments:

twisterfish said...

Oh my I love this post. First of all, I never get massages, but that's because I hate strangers touching me.... so this is perfect! And secondly, I have a love affair with a pinky ball (long story, but one day I'll fill you in). And the line about the padded bra? Laugh out loud funny... I almost woke everybody up in my sleeping house! Can't wait to try these!!!!

parkingathome said...

My husband has been wanting one of those rollers, but I've been all gackey about the price for FOAM. I suppose fathers day it is

Blog Designed by: NW Designs