Heading the Ball

I have developed an addiction. I don’t know if this is a sign I am not getting out enough or what, exactly, but lately the most blissful moments in my life involve lying back with a dingus like this tucked into the hollow of my neck and spacing out.

On the carpet, on a stack of bedpillows, in my favorite reading chair. I wake up in bed with this thing involved in the sheets. The received explanation in bodywork circles has to do with traction on spinal connective tissues that integrate directly with the dura mater around the central nervous system. Why, exactly, this has an effect rivalling Valium no text has ever quite made clear to me.

My clients love it when I imitate this effect using the back of my fist instead of a ball, and I have IM’ed the method, late at night, to insomniac correspondents who could find at least one tennis ball in the gym bag or dog bed. (They tend to wake up on the rug at four in the morning, feeling stoned.)

I have never been able to get to this place meditating (for some reason, I’ve never been able to shake an idea of “meditation” that goes something like “be a good little do-bee, screw your face up and think about a candle flame AS HARD AS YOU CAN”); occasionally at the end of a long Yoga session, perhaps, or when well-stoked with Benadryl during allergy season, the feeling is close, but never quite the same. Just breathing is the most delightful thing in the world, and the racket in my head stops.

I think we need to get rid of all the prescriptions and counselors and issue everyone a ball.


20 thoughts on “Heading the Ball

  1. WE used to have stressballs at home while my wife worked with ADHD kids. They worked wonders even with me when I had to attend boring committees. Worry beads can have the same effect.
    Lately my granddaughter, 4 (and a half) has taken to like some gizmos like yours…they do slow her down a bit (mercifully).

  2. Where is “the hollow of the neck”? I imagine that inner curve between skull and back, but I can’t see getting much sleep with my fist jammed up there as in a policeman’s hold.

    • Well that’s why you use a ball silly (or the smooth back of someone else’s fist, but after about an hour they’d get tired). You tuck the ball back there in the occiput and it feels like, well, like you’ve got your head on a ball, and then somehow after a minute (give or take) it feels comfortable, and presently everything starts to get… very… distant…

  3. oooooh, that sounds gooooood. Especially now, after a couple of tough sessions on my shoulders and upper arms. I don’t have any trouble sleeping, but I’m definitely going to try the ball-in-the-back-of-the-neck thingy tonight.

    Hopefully it will help dull the persistent ache caused by the person currently staying with me…

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