By Teresa Visini March 29, 2018

This series of posts from an Integrative Health Studies alum provides information about how to get and stay well.

The technique of ball rolling (using Franklin balls or tennis balls) to increase sensory awareness and release tension has been around for many years. Ball rolling originally came from Elsa Gindler, a pioneer in somatic therapy.

Ball-rolling exercises allow you to sense areas of your body that are otherwise not easily accessible, to become aware of restrictions in your movement patterns, and to awaken your proprioceptors, the sense organs that provide information about movements and positions of the body. Ball rolling is also a form of self-massage.

Ball rolling will allow your body to move with less effort and more ease, particularly in the areas where you use the balls. Try it when specific muscles feel tight, or when you notice that you are feeling tension throughout your body.

When ball rolling, it is best to roll the ball slowly. You can use the balls on different parts of the body, e.g., back, neck, arms, legs, hips, and feet. Smaller and harder balls will penetrate deeper to allow for more movement. If you find a tender spot, breathe deeply and use your breath to release the tension in your body. How long you do this is up to you.

It can be for a couple of minutes or longer, depending on how many areas of the body you want to address. After each exercise, take a few minutes to notice any changes in your body. This will help your nervous system record the new sensations your body just experienced.

Never roll a ball over an acute injury or area of sharp pain. Consult your doctor if you are unsure whether or not ball rolling is appropriate for your condition.

This simple exercise will ease tension in the arms caused by typing on a keyboard:Stand against a wall with your face turning toward your right shoulder. Extend your right arm straight out with fingers stretched toward the opposite wall.

Put a ball (Franklin ball or tennis ball) between the wall and your right, inner forearm.

Slowly bring your right elbow in towards your right side, gently rolling the ball. Then extend the right arm out towards the opposite wall again, gently rolling the ball. Repeat 10 times

Repeat steps 1-3 using left arm.


Sara Acevedo

Teresa Visini holds an MA in Integrative Health Studies ('12) from CIIS and certification in Wellness Coaching from CIISBA in Dance from Chapman University. As a pilates, yoga, dance and movement instructor, Teresa uses a variety of methods to enhance people's alignment, movement, and energy flow. She teaches special population groups such as cancer patients, people with Alzheimer's, fibromyalgia, special needs, and eating disorders. She is also a Reiki Master/Teacher and has been part of the Stanford Health Care Reiki Program for the past 10 years.  www.movingtoheal.com

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