08 Sep Ditch Getting A Massage & Do Body Rolling Instead
Ditch Getting A Massage And Do Body Rolling With These Therapy Balls Instead
Healer and master teacher Yamuna Zake pioneered this body therapy using balls to self-heal from bone to muscle
What do you do when all other healing systems fail you? If you’ve tried everything from orthopedics and chiropractic to alternative or Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture? This was where Yamuna Zake found herself after her hip gave out following the birth of her daughter.
Over 30 years ago, Yamuna decided to find her own solution to her hip problem and dedicated her life to understanding how the body works. She has since developed Anatomy U, a way of learning about your own body, as part of her patented approach to Body Sustainability.
Of the many techniques Yamuna developed over her three-decade career, one that really took off was Body Rolling. The signature technique has been described as “the perfect body tool” to self-heal…
What is body rolling?
Yamuna’s signature Body Rolling technique makes use of various sized “Yamuna Balls” to effectively work every part of the body.
“All this pushing and pounding in the body… sometimes the body needs the opposite,” she says. “And you can work it anatomically using the balls to do their job according to the body’s order.”
The body rolling practice works the muscles from their point of origin to insertion.
“We start with something that nobody really talks about – direct bone stimulation,” she says. “So wherever muscles attach to the bone via tendons, we start on the bone. You’re using your own weight-bearing into the ball which improves bone quality, which then improves muscle quality, tone and circulation. Literally we teach you how to work through every part of your body using the balls.”
According to testimonials, besides getting relief from things like neck, hip and back pain, people report having better digestion and feeling more relaxed.
Body rolling vs. Foam rolling
What’s the difference between foam and body rolling? The former may seem comparable and is indeed better known in the fitness world. Technically called “self-myofascial release”, foam rolling is like giving yourself a “self-massage” to release muscle tightness or trigger points.
The many benefits include increased flexibility, improved blood circulation and the breaking down of scar tissue, to name a few.
“Very often, people use foam rollers to go up and down body parts,” says Yamuna. “But we say, ‘No, you stay. You wake up the bone.’” Yamuna’s method goes deeper, targeting the skeletal system itself. “You’ll feel there’s a certain sensation at that point – sort of like an ‘A-ha’ that occurs – and then the muscle just begins to unwind.”
It’s all in the ball
Different balls are used for different parts of the body to achieve all this.
“We have black balls which come in a pair so that you can work both sides of the body together. Or, we have a gold ball which is a beginner ball, and it’s got more give in it,” says Yamuna. “If you get the ball in the right place, you will then follow the line of that ball. So for example, if you’re doing your hamstrings and you’re rolling down the back of your legs, they’re all so close together that you’re getting it.”
“The minute you wait there and then move the ball on, you’re creating a traction. So you’re actually elongating and toning muscle, increasing the range of motion in your joints. Another benefit of it is that you’re going through other parts of your body. You’re also working meridians and acupuncture points.”
Body rolling vs. Massage therapy
Yamuna body rolling addresses a huge risk to people who go for massages to ease muscle pain: that of badly-trained masseuses who can actually worsen the problem instead of alleviating it.
According to SCMP health editor Jeanette Wang, the four Yamuna balls of varying size and firmness are “more forgiving than other popular self-massage tools such as the foam roller, massage stick and trigger ball.”
But can body rolling actually replace regular massage therapy? “There’s nothing like the human touch, of course, and trained hands,” Yamuna says. “But for me, I’d rather work on myself than have most people out there touch me. The more you educate and train your body, the less you can just let anyone give you a massage. I’m all for touch therapies – but it has to be by someone who’s really good.”
All this is not fast work, and should definitely not be seen as a quick solution. “My education teaches people what they’ve got in a certain area, how to work on it, and how to find the most effective way for them to be better in their body,” says Yamuna.
Her own healing, as well as those of her followers over the last 30 years, have proven as she once said: “The body will know itself – how to unwind, how to heal, and how to be better.”