Kandy Duke scanned the room and smiled. She watched as a room of people, of various ages and body types, found their way to roll their hips on different Yamuna Balls, firm spheres that offer relief from a variety of pain.
“It hurts so good doesn’t it?,” Duke asked with a laugh.
The students assembled at Balance Wellness Studio on St. Simons Island Friday afternoon answered with smiles and nods.
Duke understands that feeling well. The specifically designed orbs are geared at rolling into different muscle fibers to create space and allow a release from pain. They can be used on a multitude of parts of the body. On Friday, Duke and her students were squaring off against sciatica.
During the hour long workshop, participants sat on mats on the floor, placing the balls in varying places, then slowly rolled along the orb to help break up spots of tightness and tension.
“Each time the approach is different. Over the last two months, we have done different workshops. We switch it up,” Duke, who splits her time between Athens and the coast, said.
“Last time, we did the feet. We are going to do that again on Oct. 7. We will also have one for people with Scoliosis. A lot of people have it ... and it doesn’t have to be debilitating or really extreme to cause some problems. So we will work on that.”
Regardless of the area being targeted, the goal remains the same. The balls are used to offer relief from different types of pain. The weight-bearing balls are most often placed where muscle begins, at the bone. Rolling through the muscles helps to leave the body in better alignment and ultimately pain-free.
“Really I’m teaching people to help themselves,” she said. “Through the workshops, you learn enough to fix yourself when you can’t get in to see your normal body worker.”
Duke has experience in that field and also offers table sessions at her home-base in Athens. She teaches weekly classes on body rolling as well. It is something that, once the proper technique is learned, can be done daily.
“Anyone can really do this. You can even do it in bed or have someone do it for you on a massage table,” she said. “But you can do it yourself. Most people roll once a day.”
In addition to sciatica and Scoliosis, the method treats a variety of other ailments. From the feet to the face, Duke said there are different techniques for different parts of the body. Smaller balls can be placed under the neck or rolled along the jaw to ease pain from TMJ.
Duke notes, the technique was even used for those who had facelifts.
“Women’s bones break down faster in the face than that the rest of the body,” she said. “So the balls were first used after facelifts to help stretch that tissue back out.”
Today, those of varying fitness levels have found relief from pain. Many find it useful as a preventative measure, especially for those living active lifestyles. Duke said runners, in particular, have feel them useful.
“If someone is a runner in their late 40s or early 50s, even if they don’t have problems I would suggest they incorporate some of this before or after a run,” she said. “It is something you can do every day. And for the people who really fall in love with it, they do it every day. It is really lovely and it feels so good.”