There are soooo many tools that you can use in between sessions to help yourself feel better. Just walk into any sports shop and you will find rollers and balls, canes and gadgets galore. If you jump on youtube or google there are thousands of videos and tutorials on how to use common househo;d items as massage tools.
These can be great solutions to have around, they can ease your pain when you can’t get in for a massage or help reduce some muscle tension. I don't know about you but with my schedule it's not always easy to get in for a massage. Life events pop up, kids, work, cleaning, cooking, family commitments, even the fun stuff like hanging with your friends can make it difficult to squeeze a massage into your schedule at times.
Massage is a great way to exercise some self care, but of course it can’t be the only thing. It makes sense to have other activities and some tools to keep you feeling good regularly. For example rolling your sore and tired feet on a golf ball for a few minutes feels wonderful – and it helps get you up off the couch and moving again.
Before you ditch your massage therapist completely for these kinds of tools there are some things to consider.
Your tool does only one thing
Most (like massage balls) just compress your muscles. That’s not all your muscles need to feel better though. During a massage your muscles are pulled, squeezed, kneaded, and stretched as well as being compressed. One tool isn’t the solution to everything. Hammers are good – for hammering but are less good at painting, drilling a hole, or tightening a nut.
Tools are not are educated in how your body works
Your tool won’t know when to stop and your muscles may get overworked. Working in some areas of your body can be dangerous and may cause serious problems. Some tools may require you to get on the floor or turn your body into a pretzel to get the relief you need which can be challenging to those of us that aren't yogis. Obviously the goal here is to feel better, not worse!
As a massage therapist I also learned about how much pressure to use and how best to work on a muscle. I can evaluate the progress and change the pressure or try a different technique. I may move you into different positions to change the angle to reach a muscle more effectively.
Pain works in mysterious ways
You may feel the pain in one area but the real source might be somewhere else (did you know your shoulder muscles can give you a headaches?). If you only address the symptom the pain will return.
Together we can often track down the source and help address the real problem.
There’s more to a massage than just working on your soft tissues. You get personal attention, listened to, and cared for. Your body and mind can both relax as you let go of your responsibilities for a while. Tools for use at home can provide some nice benefits in between massages. Most of us enjoy saving money but when we need something important done correctly we pay a professional. Your body is the only place you have to live so take care of it right.