Wouldn’t it be fantastic to dissolve your stress in less than five minutes? What if you could also feel grounded, focused, and present using a prop you probably have in your house? Sounds too good to be true? Grab a tennis ball, take off your shoes and socks, and get ready to find peace.
Our feet affect our body and mind
Our feet are amazing! They support our weight, transport us throughout our day, and help us balance, grip, and stabilize. Each foot has 26 bones, 33 joints, and more than 100 muscles, ligaments, and tendons. There are 7000 nerve endings in the soles of our feet. WOW!
As you probably know, all parts of the body are connected. So, if you’re feeling tension in your lower back, your legs may be affected. The same is true for the mind. When we’re anxious or stressed, our feet might grip or hurt. But, if we can release the fascia in the soles of our feet, we may be able to help the rest of the body and mind feel better, too.
What the heck is fascia?
Fascia is a type of connective tissue. It surrounds our muscles, ligaments, organs, and bones. Fascia is like scaffolding. It creates structure and stability for our bodies. Fascia houses a lot of nerves, and it is constantly responding to demands that are placed on the body. It helps us fight infections, repair tissue damage, and protects and insulates the muscles and organs. Fascia is a living, adaptable system within our bodies.
Ideally, fascia is smooth and pliable. But, it can become tight, restricted, and dehydrated. Sometimes this happens from a repetitive posture ~ how we sit or stand all day, how we sleep, drive our cars, walk, exercise, etc. It could become constricted from physical or emotional trauma, from overuse, inflammation, or dehydration. Stress can be a major factor in creating tension in our bodies.
Myofascial Release Techniques to the rescue!
We can use myofascial release (MFR) tools, like foam rollers, tennis balls, or recovery rounds to help the connective tissues glide and slide more smoothly. One MFR technique might include positioning an area of the body (for example, the sole of the foot) over the recovery round and then letting the fascia soften over the tool. We might also lean against the wall, with the recovery round pinned behind a shoulder. Once we locate a trigger point (a tender spot that we want to explore), we can raise and lower the arm while breathing slowly.
Done regularly (a few times a week for several minutes each time), MFR can help by:
- Promote ease of movement
- Regulate the parasympathetic nervous system (relaxation response)
- Increase range of motion and mobility
- Encourage body awareness
- Relieve muscle tension
Let’s roll the feet and release tension and stress
Grab a tennis ball (unless you happen to have a set of recovery rounds) and stand near a wall for extra balance. Although you can wear socks, it’s best to be barefoot so that you can feel the sensations.
Place the ball beneath the sole of your right foot. It should be in the center of the foot. Keeping your heel on the floor, lean your weight onto and off of the ball a few times.
Then, move the recovery round/tennis ball to the ball of the foot. Keeping the heel on the floor, slowly begin to wave your foot side-to-side. Take several slow, complete breaths, while noticing how that area of the foot is feeling.
Now, move the ball to the heel of the foot. Keep your toes and the ball of the foot on the floor as you rock the heel side-to-side. If you find a spot that needs a little more attention, stay for 3 or 4 more breaths.
Finally, step off of the ball and plant both feet on the floor. Notice the difference in the first foot, leg, hip, etc. compared to the other side. Take a slow, complete breath in, and let it go before moving onto the second side.
Let’s practice together
If you want to learn more, join me for a FREE virtual Myofascial Release class on Monday, April 17th at 7pm EST. This class will focus on MFR techniques for the feet and lower legs.
Registration is required, so save your spot here ~ https://peaceyoga.heymarvelous.com/event/details/661625
Can’t make it to the live class? Go ahead and register, and I’ll email you a link to watch the recorded class.