Not all of us can afford a personal trainer or masseuse to regularly work out the kinks, tight spots, and soreness in our muscles. Due to this reason, a new way to massage has become very popular in recent years; trigger point massage. With the help of massage balls, you can control where and how much pressure should be applied to help release the tension in the muscles.
How does trigger point massage work?
Fascia is a layer of fibrous tissue that encases our muscles, body, vital organs, nerves, and tissues, etc. giving it form and enabling movement. Without this layer of connective tissues, our body will not have a real structure or shape. When we overstress our muscles due to overuse or trauma, this layer of fascia gets tears in it. When this damage does not heal properly, the various layers of fascia join together in spots which are called adhesions. These adhesions cause discomfort and pain, thus, hindering the working of muscles and making it impossible for the body to live up to its full potential for strong and natural movement.
This is where trigger point massage comes into play. Putting pressure on these adhesions releases them and helps you achieve optimal physical performance.
Benefits of trigger point massage:
There are various benefits of trigger point massage. Some of these are as follows:
- Increases flexibility
- Helps to reduce soreness of muscles from workouts.
- Gets rid of tightness and knots in your muscles.
- De-stresses your body, helping it to work more efficiently.
- Helps prevent injuries.
- Helps to recover faster from workouts by increasing the blood flow.
Using a ball for trigger point massage
Many mobility trainers and physical therapists recommend using a ball for trigger point massage. You can use a simple tennis or hockey ball for self-myofascial or trigger point release. Using a ball is very cost-effective and you do not necessarily need a new ball for this purpose. An old ball can easily do the trick.
General guidelines on how to use a massage ball for trigger point release
It is very easy to use a massage ball for trigger point massage. However, the following guidelines must be followed to prevent injury:
- Roll the ball on your body until you feel a trigger point, i.e., the point that hurts. Place the ball over the trigger point and just let it rest for 10 to 20 seconds. You will be surprised to note that it is the pressure, not the rolling of the ball that releases the muscles.
- Apply pressure only on the muscle and not on the joints and bones as it may result in injury.
- Make sure that you include trigger point massage with a ball in your regular warm-up before you exercise, focusing on the points that trouble you the most. Use the rest days in your exercise routine to massage your whole body with a hockey ball.
- Keep yourself hydrated after an intense massage session.
Using a massage ball to target different muscle groups
You can use a hockey ball on different muscles for trigger point release. Following are a few examples:
- For the chest muscles place the ball on the pecs and roll the ball until you find a trigger point. Press and hold for a few seconds. You can also use a yoga brick to apply more pressure.
- If you work in an office and spend most of your day sitting down, you are bound to feel tightness in your piriformis muscles. Massaging your butt with a ball will help to release some of that tightness.