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Joelle Cogliati. Speaker. Teacher. Coach.

Playing with Balls

Balls are the universal symbol for the element of play; people of all ages and cultural backgrounds associate balls with play and recreation. Aside from the many athletic endeavors that we have developed with the use of balls, they too have been used in a variety of rehabilitative and training applications.

There are large balls that we call physioballs or fitballs, medicine balls, body rolling balls, small ball therapy balls, and a huge variety balls like tennis balls and golf balls that can be used for releasing tight tissue. So then balls not only decrease apprehension in the therapeutic setting, but they also offer themselves as a dynamic tool.

A dynamic tool is one that offers a greater energetic value. For example, human touch has a highly dynamic quality, especially when compared with a mechanical device. The use of needles in acupuncture, although they are a static object, creates a very dynamic healing process. The use of gemstones and crystals have an increased vibrational frequencies, therefore, they offer a greater dynamic quality, than say a machine. And if you were to simply sit on a ball, as opposed to a metal chair, the ball of course will have a much greater dynamic quality.

When you sit on a metal chair, or a wooden bench, you are sitting on a static piece of equipment. The circulation begins to decline; your iscial tuberosities (or sit bones at the base of your pelvis) start to hurt. You may experience some paresthesia, or tingling sensations as the nerves are pinched temporarily; we call this “pins and needles”. Your posture declines perhaps from the design of the chair, and your body simply becomes uncomfortable sitting still for long periods of time. However, when you sit on a ball, the dynamic qualities of the body are enhanced. The neuro-sensory stimulation to the body is increased. All systems of the body are awakened, especially the nervous and muscular systems. The body is continually engaged in stabilizing itself, even when sitting on a ball seems incredibly easy and void of any effort.

The Physioball, Swiss Ball, and/or Fitball are one and the same. They are the large balls that are widely used now in many settings. The “Swiss Ball”, as it is known today, originated in1963 when an Italian manufacturer, Mr. Aquilino Cosani, started producing toys made of vinyl instead of rubber. He developed techniques to make large yellow, orange and green (Gymnastik) balls and sold them in Europe. In 1981, the company was divided and Mr. Cosani began producing a new line of balls and rolls with different colors such as red, blue and clear (Gymnic). These two brands of therapy balls are widely used in hospitals and clinics around the world and balls manufactured by Mr. Cosani over twenty years ago are still in use. There is a whole succession of bright folks who have developed great uses of these balls in the therapeutic and fitness worlds.

The same is true for use of a ball to release tight tissue. These balls are called small ball therapy, yamuna body rolling balls, miracle balls, etc. I like to call it Self Care Success, but it doesn’t matter really what you call it, I just want people to know about it and be empowered.

These dynamic tools enhance the firing of neuromuscular systems, and therefore the tissue becomes more alive and responsive. Simple compression, as a very effective massage tool, becomes even more effective. This relationship is enhanced further when the body is actually balancing on the ball while promoting release in the tissue. These are fantastic self-care tools that can empower the individual to care for themselves with self-massage/release techniques.

There are very similar uses with foam rollers. The foam rollers are slightly less dynamic, less specific in application, and often harder. Although they are a very effective tool for myofascial release work, they are sometimes too painful for the average person. Professional and competitive athletes are more inclined to stick with a foam roller release program; these people are more accustom to pain and suffering than most of us.

There is also the Dynamic Medicine Ball training. These are weighted balls that both bounce or do not bounce. Paul Chek HHP, NMT is a prominent expert in the field of holistic health and corrective and high-performance exercise. This four-level, advanced training program attracts exercise professionals, massage therapists, physical therapists, chiropractors, osteopaths, M.D.’s and other health care practitioners. This type of training, with it’s enhanced dynamic quality offers the body very realistic functional training that is much like real life experiences and athletic endeavors.

Balls in general bring the element of play and fun into our rehabilitative and athletic pursuits. They offer us a dynamic tool for stabilization and release. They are also widely used right here in our own community. There are many settings here in which the offer of a more dynamic training tool is available. You might explore these uses in therapeutic settings such as physical therapy offices, chiropractic centers, massage practices, fitness centers, and the pilates studio’s. Or, you might just simply replace your stiff old office chair with a dynamic ball.

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playing with therapy balls

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I believe that together, You and I, can effect change. This is based on passionate, personal, and professional experiences of bringing touch therapies through over 40,000 hours of soft tissue care coming from a foundation in Anatomy, Physiology, and Kinesiology.


I believe that no matter long your pain and discomfort has been a part of your life, I can help you. This is founded in educated and healthy hands on care experience over the last 25 years plus.


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