Structural Integration - Deep Tissue Bodywork, Posture and Movement Education

"When the body gets working appropriately, the force of gravity can flow through. Then, spontaneosly, the body heals itself."
Ida Rolf, Ph.D.

Using Tennis Balls for Tension Relief

November 9, 2009 : Articles

Using Tennis Balls for Tension Relief

I want to discuss some alternate uses for tennis balls. The tennis ball is a great tool for self care because it is firm and resilient, yet yields to pressure nicely. There are two ways to use them in this sense. The first is the put 2 tennis balls in a sock and tie the end of the sock so they fit snugly next to each other. You now have a great tool for work on either side of the spine or anywhere else you feel it would be helpful.


To use it along the spine: place to sock on the floor and lie face up with the tennis balls on either side of your spine. Then bring your knees up and feet flat on the floor. Using your feet to stabilize and move your body, lightly roll the tennis balls up and down the spine finding and area of tension or soreness and when found relax and rest your weight on that spot allowing your body and spine to release fully over the tennis balls. Rest for a least 30 seconds to allow time to disengage any subtle holding pattern that may prevent you from experiencing the full effect of this exercise. Your muscle tissue should be able to relax over the tennis balls, if this seems difficult try focusing on deep and relaxed breathing intending the breath into the tense area. Feel free to experiment with this technique in other areas of your body as well, you can even use a wall instead of the floor if that works better for you.


Using just one tennis ball is also a great way to work on the medial arch of the foot. Just try one foot at a time, balancing on a table with the opposite hand and slowly pouring your weight into the tennis ball with the same intention as the above excercise.