DISCLAIMER: This tool is only to be used on the recommendation of a health-care professional. Use to the contrary is done so at your own risk and these tips and hints are a guide only, not medical advice.
The Back Buddy can be used in two ways:
As a trigger point tool, use the Back Buddy as outlined below.
- Find a particularly tender area or active referral spot (avoid joints and bones).
- Apply firm pressure for 30-60 seconds until a sense of release is felt.
- Move to another area and repeat, remembering the cause of the pain may not be where you feel the pain.
Fascial Release is more gentle, and can yield better results if the above methods aggravates the symptoms.
- Find an area of tightness, soreness or tenderness (avoid joints and bones).
- Apply light, gentle pressure–just the weight of your arms on the handles is enough.
- Wait 3-5 minutes for a warm, melting sensation to occur. This release can last longer than the trigger-point method.
Tips & Hints:
Keep the intensity low
How’s the intensity? Do you feel like you can breathe into it or do you feel like you have to hold against it? It’s really important to be easy and gentle because even when we’re telling ourselves it’s ok and telling ourselves to relax, if the pressure is too strong our bodies will just tighten up against it in protection because it perceives it as a threat. So, if you find a spot that feels nasty, just work around or beside it for a while before working on it directly.
Some people say, “oh great, I can self-treat while I’m watching TV or talking on the phone!” Know that that’s ok, but to get the real benefit, we need to be in an environment so we can be focused and free of distractions such that we can really tune into the feelings and sensations in our bodies. When we really listen to our bodies, it’s as if the tightness in our body knows that and says, “ok, you are listening to me, I can soften and release that!”
Use your breath to facilitate release
The more you are engaged in the process, the more you will benefit from the time you spend self-treating. One of the best ways to be engaged is through your breath. Therefore, breathing into the sore, tight, tender area, taking your focus and awareness there via your breath, and letting your body soften over the ball will help your tissues to release and let go.
It takes time
Remember it takes 2-3 minutes for our tissues to start to soften and even longer for them to fully let go. If you are self-treating for the first time, you may want to set a timer for 3 minutes to get a sense of the minimum length of time required for your body to begin to soften. You may feel like you’ve been softening a tight area for a long time but looking at your watch you discover only a minute has gone by! We’re not used to waiting for 3 minutes for anything! To get a full release, it can take up to 5 minutes or even longer of gentle, sustained pressure in one spot for the layers of tightness to fully let go. Over time, as you become experienced and practiced with self-treating and feeling the sensations associated with release in your body, you can just go by feel without the aid of a timer.
The body releases best when it is fully supported, not standing. Pull up a chair or crash on the couch so that your whole body can be involved without having to hold you up. This allows more areas to release.
Feeling it connect to other parts of your body
As you’re self treating an area, you may feel a pull or stretch into another part of your body that is a distance away from the self-treatment tool. This referred sensation is indicating other areas of tightness in your body. Sometimes by hanging with the initial spot and breathing into the referred stretch or pull, it will release. Other times, we need to move the self-treatment tool to the secondary area and address it directly.
There’s no set protocol for self treating. You can do it any time of the day for as long or as little as you like. Some people treat themselves periodically throughout the day, others once a day. Just explore whatever works best for you. Ultimately, the choice is yours.
Sometimes as you are self-treating a spot and no matter how much you breathe into it and soften, it just doesn’t let go. So long as you are following the principles outlined above, this can indicate that there is another area of tightness linked to that spot which needs to be released first before the original spot can let go. If you are experiencing sensations that intensify without resolve or sensations that remain constant without shifting or changing as you self-treat, please let your treating therapist know.