Massage Therapy Kit (a.k.a. On Demand Pain Relief)

Jill Miller
Year Released: 2013

Categories: Instructional / How To Videos , Special Health Conditions , Yoga

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I finally traded for this DVD after having been interested in it for awhile. I LOVE Jill Miller's ball rolling self-massage work and definitely get that "hurts so good" feeling from this type of self-therapy. I have/have tried all of the CDs in Jill's Yoga Tune-Up (YTU) Tension Tune-Down series, her YTU Upper Body Rx DVD, and her Coregeous DVD, all of which include ball work to various degrees.

The Massage Therapy Kit (which is how it is listed if you put it in your cart on Jill's web site, although it's also listed on her site as the "Massage Therapy Instructional Kit," and it's been referred to on VF as the "On-Demand Pain Relief" DVD, as that is what it says across the front of the DVD case) does NOT come with the YTU balls. Jill now sells several versions of her balls on her web site, with prices starting at $12 for two balls in a tote (she does use the tote in some of her work on the DVD, although the tote is not absolutely necessary). If you would like to purchase your own balls, however, Hi-Bounce "Pinky" balls are cheapest and closest to what Jill uses. You can sometimes find them in dollar stores, or you can purchase them on Amazon here (<$4/each with free shipping):

The Massage Therapy Kit is a 2-DVD set. Disk 1 offers wall sequences, in which Jill demonstrates use of the balls at the wall to massage various areas. Disk 2 focuses on ball rolling sequences on the floor. Jill teaches live, with two helpers, Amy and Jamie, demonstrating the moves. Below I have provided chapter breakdowns for each disk along with brief overviews of the major exercises covered. (I've also listed times in parentheses.)

***DISK 1***

*About Yoga Tune-Up (1:47) - A brief overview of the program by Jill; she talks about how the program focuses on posture and performance to reduce pain by addressing "blind spots."
*Therapy Ball Intro (2:32) - Jill covers the basics of self-massage and self-care. She also talks about how the density and texture of her therapy balls makes them different from other types of self-massage tools.
*Anatomy of Rolling (6:56) - Jill introduces "Oscar," her skeleton friend, and covers some basic points of anatomy including fascia and muscles. She also addresses the development of adhesions and trigger points.
*Rolling Techniques (7:10) - Here Jill reviews the different ways to use the balls, including sustained compression, stripping, cross-fibering, and contracting/releasing.

*Feet (13:12) - Jill states that starting with the feet is a good way to both soften up brand-new balls AND to work the feet. She does one ball at a time, basically using the wall just for balance.
*Upper Back (7:16) - This segment moves quickly through the same five positions as Jill's "Upper Back & Neck" CD (and the same as the floor sequence in this kit).
*Shoulders (15:44) - This is actually shoulders AND rotator cuff. Using one or two balls, the balls are used to work the shoulder blade, rear and side delt, and the chest.
*Lower Back (7:23) - I found this segment more accessible than on the floor; the balls are used together in the tote to target the mid-low back and low back, but a single ball is used for quadratus lumborum work.
*Hips & Buttocks (6:51) - Starts with a single ball to target the piriformis and buttocks; uses two balls for the pelvis and IT band.

***DISK 2***

*Review Rolling Techniques (7:10) - SAME as on Disk 1.

FLOOR SEQUENCES (for each segment here, Jill start with several minutes of introduction, reviewing anatomy using Oscar; the segments are chaptered, so these intros can be skipped):
*Upper Back (16:32) - The five positions of the balls include the trapezius, below the neck, the upper shoulder blades, the mid shoulder blades, the low shoulder blades, and below the shoulder blades. Various arm movements are incorporated; these will be familiar to anyone who has done Jill's YTU CDs and/or her Coregeous DVD.
*Shoulders (18:58) - Again, this is shoulder and rotator cuff work, and it is virtually identical to Jill's "Shoulder and Rotator Cuff" YTU CD.
*Lower Back (13:19) - The balls are used in both vertical and horizontal positions here, with moves similar to footage on Jill's Coregeous DVD.
*Hip & Buttokcks (16:42) - Lying in a reclined cobbler's position, the balls get worked into the buttocks. The balls are also worked into the hips and, lying on the side, used to massage the IT band.
*Head, Neck & Jaw (15:59) - This unique segment was one of my favorites. Although I don't think it's quite as relaxing as Jill endlessly insisted it was, I liked it because it worked the back and the skull and temple--areas that get very sore for me due to migraine headaches. There is also work on the side of face/jaw.

BONUS: Desk Sequence
Head, Neck & Jaw (7:17) - A briefer, seated version of the above segment where you lean on one arm and work the same areas.

I definitely like this DVD set. I was a bit disappointed that so much of the footage seemed repetitive of Jill's prior releases. However, not only do I like Jill's previous work, but also much of it is on CD, so it's nice to have video versions. I also appreciate the option of being able to do the rolling either on the floor OR at the wall; Jill's prior releases offered the former as the ONLY option, and I find some of the body areas easier to target at the wall.

If you are interested in self-massage and are looking for a variety of routines all in one place, I would not hesitate to recommend this 2-DVD set.

Instructor Comments:
I definitely respect Jill's work: I find her very knowledgeable, and I appreciate her therapeutic approach. I also like that she is very down-to-earth, although her MANY goofy jokes can be a bit much at times.

Beth C (aka toaster)