My approach to ball rolling is based off on Myofascial Release’s philosophy that “the deeper you go, the slower you go.” Meaning, in order to access the ‘deeper’ layers and barriers of your tissue, you have to approach the body slowly. There are a couple of reasons as to why this is important but, when talking about the connective tissue, I will be focus on the dynamics of thrixotrophy. It states that certain gels/fluids will be thick in one state but will become more fluid when agitated. Thrixotrophy is time-dependent so that the longer the force is sustained, the more fluid the substance will become. It is, also, dependent upon the intensity at which the force/agitation is applied. If the agitation is applied too quickly, the more resistant the substance will be to change. A common example of this is trying to pull something from the ground. The soil will create more resistance against quick forceful actions in compared to a slower sustained force that will release the soil from around the item.
Thrixotrophy may be difficult for high intensity people to accept but this is what is required for ‘deeper’ and longer lasting changes to our body. We have been conditioned by the popular phrase ‘No pain, no gain’ to accept invasive forceful trauma as a necessary means to an end. Myofascial Release therapists understand thrixotrophy which is why we rarely are able to cover the whole body within a typical session. For me, aka Pál, 90 minutes is usually only enough time to cover one region of the body (eg. upper body or lower body).
You might be thinking, “Well geez Pál, why call it ball rolling when you are going so slowly?” Again, you may be conditioned to think there are two speeds to plow a forearm or foam roller up your hamstrings: Fast (by my standards) and faster. The approach you will learn from me is that, as your tissue releases, it will guide your body over the ball and the ball through your tissue. This still involves an act of “rolling.”
Besides the speed of ball rolling, another key component to making this approach different and complimentary to other forms of stretching and rolling is the focus and direction of the techniques. Most stretching is focused on increasing the length of the muscles. I find, though, that the main factors affecting the energetics of our muscles and overall flexibility is how muscles and other structures are adhered to each other. Therefore, the primary focus of my techniques is on releasing neighboring (layers of) muscles and tendons from each other. This creates false attachments that result in faulty functioning, transference of energy, and greater difficulty supporting ourselves against gravity.