So they look like this…
These little gems are about the size of two tennis balls. You can use them in similar ways to a foam roller, but being smaller, you can focus in on smaller body parts like the muscles of your neck, or specific spinal segments. (See our video below for one specific application)
Note that these balls can very in hardness. Some are a bit more squishy whilst others can be really hard. Personal preference will dictate but we would suggest starting with slightly softer ones to get used to them.
You can actually make these cheaply for yourself from tennis balls, taped with electrical tape using a continuous wrapping pattern to surround the balls until they are entirely covered. These are not bad, but the tape tends to eventually come unstuck and they do tend to be a little too soft. (Of course, we recommend buying one from us! We have them cheaper than you can get online!)
…and you use them like this
You can use the peanut ball anywhere on your body, but it works particularly well in the centreline of the spine – that is, with a ball either side of the spine.
It’s really not complicated, you can either drape yourself over the peanut ball and stay in that position, varying how much you flex and extend your spine, or you can roll up and down on the peanut ball (usually in short sections). You can place it against the wall or use it on the floor.
Peanut ball self-release of suboccipital muscles
Here’s a great little clip on how to use the peanut ball for tightness in the base of the skull and possible cervicogenic headache symptoms.
(For other body parts, your imagination is the only limitation. However, calves probably deserve a special mention as you can rest your upper calf – the gastrocnemius – over both sides of the ball and hit both heads of this muscle.)