Probably almost everyone, active or sedentary, has had some form of aches and pains in their muscles before. Here’s a secret of many athletes, a type of massage which they use to ease and stretch out their muscles. You might have experienced this before – acupressure massage is similar to this.
What am I talking about? It’s trigger point massage, or myofascial release. Probably as painful as getting hit in a boxing ring, or worse, this massage can help ease out pains as quickly as it’s complete.
If you want to find out more about how to do these exercises, here are some excellent reference material:
A Beginner’s Guide Self-Myofascial/Trigger Point Release: http://www.artofmanliness.com/2013/06/13/trigger-point-release/
Self-Myofascial Release for ITBand and Quads:
I first tried this out about 14 years ago, when I was doing physiotherapy for my knee during my teenage years. The physiotherapist made me use a tennis ball and roll it along the sides of my thighs, while putting my body weight on it. It hurt like hell and I didn’t follow through with the sessions. What I didn’t learn then was that this exercise was meant to stretch the ITBand, a muscle along the outside of my thigh which was possibly causing my knee pains as it was very stiff.
Fast forward to recent years. I met a group of competitive pole vaulters and learnt about using trigger point massage balls to massage the body. It made sense. You don’t always have a friend or masseuse to rub some hard to reach areas – middle of the back, side of the leg and glutes, and sometimes your fingers just won’t have enough pressure to ease the pain, so you’ll need body weight.
Stepping up from the ol’ tennis ball, this is what I ended up buying:
Select Foot Massage Ball, US$17.99 on Amazon.com
It’s small enough to carry around, and I have brought it on my trips. Although it’s called foot massage ball, I never use it on my feet. I carry it in my hand luggage and lean onto it when seated to ease out any back pains from long flights. I’ve also used it for rehab exercises for my wrist injury, as well as massaging my arms after a long day of work.
Then, I needed something with a larger surface area for my IT Band, quads, hamstrings, glutes.. you get it, the bigger areas like the legs. I went to Novena Square and got this for about S$40+. It’s a high density foam roller which is pretty much like what the demos in the youtube videos use.
At $40+ from Novena Square, it’s pretty expensive. Everything at Novena Square has it’s price inflated sky high. Even the water bottles. But it was convenient to get there. It depends how large the roller is too. Mine’s the medium size. They have longer ones where you can roll out both thighs at one go too. You can also find some listed on Qoo10.
Recently, I tried out a really fancy one from Trigger Point Performance. Available at under US$40 on Amazon.com, The Grid foam roller has three different densities within one roller. I find it a little hard to target on a single density, so I just roll it right out. Gyms have also started including this at their stretching sections, but it’s so small that I would suggest you get(gift!) your own. Who wants to share sweaty rollers anyway, right? It’s also available at some of the stores in Novena, but at about 15-20% higher than it costs online. And forget about buying a costlier one from your physiotherapist. They would probably advise you to get it online too unless they give you a huge discount.
So that’s it! These trigger point massage balls and rollers make fantastic gifts for both men and women! Trust me, when they come back from a gruelling run/ day, and start easing their legs out, they’ll thank you for it. 🙂