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Tension and no treatments

On occasion I have to work away (with my non massage job) and last week was one of those times. It had been a very stressful week to get organised and everything seemed to be going wrong, including a car breakdown on the journey which had me cold on the motorway for two hours in the rain while I was rescued. As you can imagine by the time I got to my hotel that night I was not in a good space.

My neck and shoulders were very tight from a training session that morning and the added stress had meant I was feeling very tense. Unfortunately the spa in the hotel was unable to help as all massage appointments had finished for the day and the next available one clashed with my working hours, not to worry I thought as I entered the lift with all my bags, I have my spiky ball and felt confident I could release some tension with self massage.

After a hot shower to warm up I fell onto the nice comfy bed in my room and started to stretch and move my arms around to get movement back into my upper traps. It felt better but could feel a few spots that needed more attention. The stress of the day plus the session in the gym that morning and standing in the rain for two hours led to a lot of tension. My head felt heavy and my neck was stiff.

On emptying my suitcase I realised with disappointment that I was missing my spiky ball. I could visualise it sat in my clinic at home, I couldn’t believe I had forgotten  it.

Ok i thought lets see what else I could use, I tried to position myself against a corner in the room but it didn’t quite hit the spot, then I tried reaching with my hands but couldn’t get enough pressure. Eventually I tried various objects but found my deodorant bottle was just right to put on the floor and lie on to get enough pressure while moving my shoulder in this position it eased the tension enough to help me relax. My head was easing and neck moving a little easier.

I was able to finally start to relax and prepare for the next day. I got comfy and meditated.

The experience got me wondering what everyone else uses to self massage? There is the obvious ones we offer our clients to see them from one appointment to the next like the spiky ball or foam roller or other similar bought items.

But what if they aren’t to hand…

To be honest I have tried a few self massage tools in the past and I found two that are enough to work. Obviously I think you know by now I love my spiky ball but the other piece of kit I have a love hate relationship with is my foam roller. It works and is great but (deep breath) I don’t practice what I preach so I am really bad at stretching after I exercise and so my quads are always really tight, foam rolling is great but painful for me – I really should stretch more…

With these two items you can cover every muscle. I use the foam roller mostly on large muscles in my legs, back and arms for broad strokes and the ball everywhere else for more accurate points.

Sometimes I use a towel for resistance when performing a MET stretch which is great on calfs.

I use the ball either standing and using a wall for pressure or lying on the ball on the bed. But a friend came up with a genius idea – place the ball in a long sock and throw the ball over your shoulder (while holding the end of the sock) that way you have better control over where the ball is placed, especially while accessing mid to lower back.

Another friend had put two balls in one sock with a gap in between and uses that on his back – especially erector spinae. He keeps that in the car so can use car seat for pressure and can be used in between clients!









What great ideas!


It got me wondering what else people use to help when they don’t have the typical tools for self-massage.

Of course nothing can replace the feeling of a massage by a trained Massage Therapist but to help in the in between times these tools can help.

Got any tips for unusual ways to release muscle tension? get in touch and share! let us know in the comments or email

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