Self-massage equipment

Different shapes and sizes work for different parts of the body.  Depending on sensitivity, you will need a different hardness.  You can easily pad a hard tool to make it softer using a blanket or pillow, but the opposite doesn't really work.

I have stocks of some basic props that I can sell you after a class or massage.

Balls

Useful for accessing a point in a large, flat muscle especially around the trunk.  Lie on it and your body weight generates the pressure.

  • Pick up a smooth stone and wash off the dirt.
  • Tennis balls are easy to obtain and work fairly well.
  • Spiky balls are popular.  I prefer smooth as I find the spikes pull and drag at the flesh, but it's up to you.
  • Sports balls come in various sizes and hardnesses: softball, baseball, golf (good for soles of feet), lacrosse, softball.  This hockey training ball is firm yet very light so perfect for taking on holiday.
  • Purpose-made massage balls can come in a range of hardnesses.

Rollers

Best for working on a long thin muscle where the ball tends to 'ping' away.  Put the roller at right-angle to the muscle.

  • Improvise with a rolling pin or a strong water bottle.
  • DIY from plastic drain pipe — cheap and light weight.  Cut to length (I use 30-40cm), smooth the ends and clean.  Pad as needed with blanket or pillow.  For larger diameter, buy soil pipe.
  • Foam rollers are the classic tool.  There are much cheaper ones that will lose their shape if used a lot, but good enough to start with.
  • Plastic knobbly ones have recently become trendy.  Personally I prefer smooth as I find the bumps drag and pull, but some people like them.
  • Beautiful hand-made wooden rollers with woven covers from Thailand are my favourite.  Unfortunately they are rather expensive, but the money does help support local workers.

Other

  • Foot massage sticks can also work on hands and other areas with small spaces.  I bring them back from Thailand and if I have spares will give you one if you promise to use it or return it.  You can improvise with the rounded end of a wooden spoon or pen.
  • Wooden shapes are good for massaging the soles of your feet and the back.
  • Blanket or large towel to pad a prop and make it softer.
  • Your body — forearm, palm, shin, foot.  Use gravity and body weight not force.