Tense neck, painful runner’s knee, immobility – all of these symptoms can be caused by stuck fascia. The best self-help tool on the other hand: fascia massage. Rolling over the massage ball regularly relieves tension and actively prevents injuries.
The most important things at a glance
- Fascia envelops our entire body as a mesh-like connective tissue. They provide support, protection, shape, absorb shock and transfer energy to the muscles.
- Fascia stick together due to lack of movement or one-sided stress.
- Fascia balls loosen the tissue and relieve tension.
- Area of application: smaller body regions such as the soles of the feet, neck, shoulders
We present three fascia balls and tell you which exercises you can use to roll the connective tissue smoothly again.
Three fascia balls 2022 in check
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What is fascia?
dr Robert Schleip is a fascia researcher at the University of Ulm explains: “In general, one can say that the word fascia is simply a new term for what is usually referred to as connective tissue. We know this from meat, for example, which is also surrounded by a milky, almost transparent muscle covering. It’s the tough, irregular connective tissue.”
As a muscle envelope, fascia surrounds muscles, ligaments and organs. Fasciae play a particularly important role in movement. Your main function:
- Energy transfer to the muscles
- support and protection function
- granting lubricity
- shock absorption
For example, if fasciae are stuck together due to lack of exercise, tension should arise. The movements no longer run “smoothly”.
What does a fascia ball do?
Fascia training aims to loosen the connective tissue and muscles. This can relieve tension and prevent injuries. In addition to foam rollers, massage balls also make glued fasciae supple again.
The correct size of the massage ball
Massage balls come in different sizes and weights. They are available online on platforms such as Amazon, idealo, Sportscheck and many more. They are mostly made of polypropylene (EPP), a plastic. The advantage: they are easy to clean with water and, thanks to their handy shape, can be easily stowed in your pocket.
Fascia balls with a diameter of 10 to 12 cm are ideal for large-area massages (e.g. of the back). Smaller balls of 6 to 8 centimeters are suitable for the trigger point massage of stubborn areas (e.g. on the feet).
Simple fascia ball exercises
Massage balls not only make your neck and back supple again – arms, legs and feet also benefit from the soothing self-massage. To do this, the muscles are gently stroked with the knuckles or fingertips to localize the trigger points. Then knead again with the massage ball. For an optimal foot massage, the feet are placed on the ball with light pressure while sitting and massaged with circular movements.
Against headaches: massage with fascia balls
The following applies to preparing for the self-massage in the neck area: Approach the exercise mindfully and carefully.
- Slowly tilt your head forward from the side, consciously breathing into the stretch while working with gravity. Hold the position very loosely for a minute. Now stroke and massage the musculature of the neck downwards, starting from the head.
- You can then start with the selective self-massage, in which trigger points in the neck area are treated in a targeted manner. To do this, lie flat on your back and relax your neck muscles. Place the massage ball under the back of your head and slowly start rolling the ball down. You can decide for yourself how much pressure is applied.
Fascia balls: Against muscle tension in the back
Fascia balls can relieve tension in the back in just a few minutes. That’s how it’s done:
- First, stand against a wall. Place the ball on the lower back. Your legs are (like a squat) slightly away from the wall.
- Now slowly move the massage ball up and down with your upper body (by bending your legs). Feel free to stay in one position for a short time if you feel particularly pressure here and continue to breathe relaxed.