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The Foam Roller Vs. Yamuna Body Rolling

The Foam Roller Vs. Yamuna Body Rolling


It’s the battle of the ages: the foam roller vs. Yamuna Body Rolling (YBR). Both help to realign, tone and stretch the body. Both help to reduce pain. And both have been used by health enthusiasts as self-massage exercises for over a decade.

If YBR and the foam roller have so many similar uses and benefits, which exercise is really the better of the two? To me, it isn’t even a contest—Yamuna Body Rolling wins by a longshot.

No Pain, More Gain

The foam roller is made of stiff foam without much give. Yes, it stretches the muscle and can help reduce pain later, but because of its denseness and inflexibility, it can be a painful exercise in the moment.

Using the foam roller can be useful, but if you really want to take results to that next level, then Yamuna Body Rolling can get into areas that the foam roller can’t—specifically the muscle attachments. YBR works firmly but gently to the bone to stimulate the bone and muscle attachments, setting off a chain of relaxation to the muscles insertion. You sink into the ball, using your own body weight and deep breaths to release tension. Basically, you get deeper results without the pain.

Variety of Options

The different size balls with various firmness in Yamuna allow you to get as firm or soft of a stretch as you need. Those of us with more sensitivity can really benefit from this variety. Even someone suffering from osteoarthritis or fibromyalgia can easily do Yamuna body rolling without any pain. Tough athletes can benefit too by using the smaller, firmer balls for their more intense stretches. The variety of options can benefit anyone at any level.

Long-Lasting Results

I have used the foam roller in the past, but when I discovered Yamuna Body Rolling, I realized I could create deeper and lasting changes in the body. It not only protects the body from injuries but it even promotes healing. This exercise can reduce pain, realign and strengthen the body, and improve flexibility and posture, just to name a few key benefits.

Practicing Yamuna can allow the user to decrease stiffness or pain that may have kept them from living a more active lifestyle that’s so important to keep up their health. I became a certified YBR instructor because I wanted to help my clients achieve better health for the long-term, and Yamuna is exactly the tool I needed to assist them.

The Autoimmune Wellness Podcast Episode #12: Step 6: Move – Our Stories

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Welcome to The Autoimmune Wellness Podcast Season 1! We’ve created this podcast as a free resource to accompany our upcoming book, The Autoimmune Wellness Handbook: A DIY Guide to Living Well with Chronic Illness.

Episode #12: Step 6: Move – Our Stories is an episode dedicated to talking about our histories with exercise, as well as, where we are today in this area of our lives. We start with discussion of what it was like when we first realized we were losing physical ability as our autoimmune struggles deepened. Next we move on to exploring the two ends of the movement spectrum, too little and too much, and where each of were pre-diagnosis versus where we are today. We also chat about our movement routines before we got sick and our routines now. We wrap up with a look at why we believe walking is ideal for those with autoimmune disease and how we gauge if we are under or overdoing it with movement. This episode is a chance for listeners to understand totally opposite sides of the movement conundrum that those with autoimmune disease face.

If you want to know more about why exactly the balance with exercise and autoimmune disease is such a fine one, check out the section, “Why Is Exercise Difficult for Those with Autoimmune Disease” in Chapter 6. This section adds a little science background to this issue.

How to listen:

If you’d like to have our podcasts sent directly to your device, subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher!

If you’d like to download the .mp3, you can do so by following this link .

If you’d like to play the episode right now in your browser, use the player below!

Show Notes:

  • 0:00 Intro
  • 1:29 Opening the Move topic
  • 2:25 Angie shares what it was like to realize she was losing physical ability due to illness
    • She recognized her body no longer had additional energy reserves for workout routines.
    • Experienced a lot of shame with not being able to keep up with others.
    • She noticed herself becoming weaker, rather than stronger, despite training hard. .
    • This was the result of her lacking other more appropriate stress management tools.
    • Fears/Shame
    • Incorrect intensity level
    • Fatigue
    • Injury
    • Pain
    • Overwhelm
    • Biking over 100 miles/week
    • Running/gym/yoga 3x/week
    • Multiple routines per day
    • Cardio-obsession
    • She feels she used this to “numb” herself.
    • Hiking
    • Backpacking
    • Walking
    • Walking
    • Horseback riding
    • Yoga
    • Touching on the negative cultural messages about how intense exercise needs to be
    • Try out the “Where Are You on the Movement Spectrum” self-test in Chapter 6 of The Autoimmune Wellness Handbook to assess how much attention this area of your healing journey needs.

    Wait–before you go!

    If you enjoyed the podcast, would you mind leaving us a review in iTunes? This helps introduce our work to a new audience as we climb the ranks in their system.

    The Autoimmune Wellness Podcast is a complimentary resource to our forthcoming book, The Autoimmune Wellness Handbook: A DIY Guide to Living Well with Chronic Illness. Support us in our mission to revolutionize how autoimmune disease is viewed and treated by pre-ordering your copy today!

    Pre-order your copy:

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    // Amazon
    // Barnes & Noble
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    // Books-a-Million
    // Indiebound
    // Powell’s

    About Grace Heerman

    Grace Heerman is a writer and website designer from Minneapolis. Through her business Said with Grace, she helps coaches clarify their message and create authentic websites that actually bring in business. Here at Autoimmune Wellness, Grace writes book reviews, manages blog content, and organizes Facebook publishing. She is an avid traveler and loves spending winters in Asia. You can connect with Grace and learn more about her writing and design work on her website, Said with Grace.


    Hello… I listened to the podcast about exercise for autoimmune and found it useful to gauge my own levels. prior to Hashimoto’s diagnosis I was on the too much exercise end of the spectrum and find it very hard not to go there… I teach pilates, yoga and Yamuna Body Rolling as a personal trainer… so you can imagine the push to look the part is definitely there. Yamuna Body Rolling has been a life saver for me! If I don’t roll I do feel like an old lady (I’m 59)… but when I do take the time to do it it feels amazing and I’m pain free even when I do exercise quite a bit. I’ve also recently started attending Whole Body Vibration classes and found those to be great too. I don’t need to do a lot on the machine to feel better once I’m done. You may want to explore those to modes (YBR and WBV) and share your experience with our fellow autoimmune folks. THANKS FOR ALL YOUR INFORMATION and most importantly SUPPORT.

    Hey Helene! Thanks for sharing, and I am so happy you found a routine that works for you! I haven’t taken rolling classes, but I do work out with a foam roller regularly and LOVE it! Thanks for the tips!

    <3 Thank you for this lovely podcast!
    I found myself in what you have been saying so much! The slow decline of capabilities, the shame about failing in yoga-classes (for me it was more often Pilates, but really: it's the same), not being able to get to work on the bike like I used to (I loved the idea it was the bike!! – for me I put it on the other route with a hill more in it – until I did the old route again one day – well: rather tried to…). I have already found out: walking is best for me and I love it, too. In the middle of Berlin in Germany I am lucky to live right next to a park! Love the idea of thinking up routes of different lengths. And not being scared of the cold anymore (Hashimoto, too) but dressing cleverly!
    Thank you so much, the love you put in definitely came across the Atlantic!


    What is Yamuna?

    Yamuna Zake created the total bodywork system generally named Yamuna after her in New York in the United States in 1979 1 ) . The term of Yamuna is a registered trademark. Yamuna mainly consists of four different categories: “Yamuna Body Logic,” “Yamuna Body Rolling,” “Yamuna Foot Fitness,” and “Yamuna Face Ball.” Zake created the manual therapy called Yamuna Body Logic first. YBR was developed from Yamuna Body Logic to maintain the conditions of therapists and provide a home program for patients. YBR has the same therapeutic benefits as Yamuna Body Logic and uses a specialized exercise ball as a self-conditioning tool.

    This unique program gives people distinct methods to work on themselves in order to sustain their postures, flexibilities, strengths, and alignments throughout their lives. Yamuna is a totally different concept compared with conventional “fitness” regimes and newly categorized as “Body Sustainability.” It has been widely used in many countries in North America, Europe, South America, and Oceania and in Japan.

    Yamuna is based theoretically on people performing certain movements on a specialized ball called “routines” by controlling their own body weight and stimulating muscular origins, tendons, muscle bellies, and insertions. Repeating deep inhalation and exhalation stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, relaxing muscle tensions and making the body weight sink into the ball. After sinking into the ball as the muscles elongate, the person distally stretches or, in other words, self-tractions the intended body parts to increase the joint play. During stretching out of limbs, any rotational malalignment can also be adjusted. After one side is done, it is very important to evaluate and compare the conditions of the worked side to the other side. It is not recommended to forcefully press toward the ball because this activates the stretch reflex as an opposing effect.

    The extraordinary effect of YBR is its multidimensional elongation of muscle fibers. In addition to the regular longitudinal elasticity resulting from the conventional stretch method, the transversal and diagonal expansion of muscle fibers by YBR enables the body to move more dynamically. Also, YBR can easily access to abdominal muscles and internal organs even though regular stretching cannot usually target those sensitive areas. For example, YBR can expand the rib cage to increase the lung capacity.

    YBR Ball

    The YBR ball is specially made to fit uneven surfaces of the musculoskeletal system with its appropriate hardness and flexibility. The material is customized polyvinyl chloride, and the safety with regards to the human body is guaranteed by Cosmetics Directive 76/768/EEC of the European Commission and Directive 2005/84/EC of the European Parliament. All five YBR balls hold up to 160 kg.

    The biggest ball, the gold ball, is 25 cm in diameter and is usually used by beginners and for sensitive areas such as the rib cage and abdomen since the pressure toward the body it produces is the lowest. Slightly smaller than the gold ball, the pearl ball is 15 cm in diameter and made for a relatively smaller person and travel usage.

    The denser silver ball is 23 cm in diameter and is used for stimulating especially lower extremities by advance users. For small body parts such as the calf and hip, the calf (black) ball, which is 10 cm in diameter, is suitable. Recently, a blue ball made with the same hardness as the silver ball has been produced for advanced usage as a calf ball. The face ball is customized for facial use, and hemisphere-shaped foot wakers and foot savers can especially stimulate the feet. By choosing and using a variety of tools, total body self-conditioning is possible ( Fig. 1 ).

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    Yamuna Balls. From left to right: gold ball, silver ball, pearl ball, and black ball.


    The frequency of Yamuna Tabletop Sessions you schedule will depend on your body and your goals. If you are working on correcting a prevalent issue in your body, you may want to come multiple times a week. If you are working on restoring your body and regularly bringing yourself into alignment, you may want to schedule a session every month or so. It’s really up to you.

    Melanie will be happy to help you establish a personal plan to help you address your concerns and get you to your goals! Simply call (502) 437-0796 or email to talk to Melanie and schedule your Tabletop Session.

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