I am a big fan of myofascial release. (Actually, Myofascial Release would be a great band name.) Myofascial release is what you get when you get a massage, especially a deep tissue massage. It is the process of breaking up muscle knots, allowing for more flexibility and relaxation.
Massage is, of course, my favorite way to get the benefits, but we can all use other methods that are more economically feasible. My second favorite method is the duck. The label on the duck says it is a “point pressing stick.” It costs a whopping $1.50 at the Daiso store, so I have several: one at my desk, one in my car, one in the gym, etc. I hook it over my shoulder and pull on the handle to get relief for tight muscles in that neck/shoulder area.
Then there are balls. I have tennis balls, lacrosse balls, a softball, and a big fancy ball about the size of a playground ball that I use to press out the tension in my back, my behind, and other areas of my body. Only the fancy one cost more than a few bucks. A few minutes with any of those items pressing into sore parts can transform my attitude.
Foam rollers come in various degrees of hardness. They provide opportunities for releasing back muscles and leg muscles.
Myofascial release can be painful, especially at first and any time the IT band on the outside edge of the thighs gets involved (I call that part “Inventing Swear Words.”). Starting with softer options in rollers and balls can ease us into the process. When we are ready, we can move to the deeper release of the harder implements. Choose a hardness that is tolerable to hold on a tense spot for at least 30 seconds for optimal release.
People with diabetes, low bone density, peripheral neuropathy, and high blood pressure should check in with the doctor before experimenting to make sure it is appropriate. Everyone else: press back on that pressure and release it!