"The Roll Model" (Book Review)
Jill Miller is the creator of Yoga Tune Up, a fitness therapy that combines conscious corrective exercise with precise self-myofascial release using therapy balls.
In her new book The Roll Model, Miller has extracted the self-myofasical release portion of her work, The Roll Model Method, and has created a tremendously thorough resource guide.
A Thorough Guide
One would think that writing about one-half of a fitness therapy would yield a slim book, but that person never met Jill Miller. Jill is insatiably curious about the human body, incredibly well-educated and well-read, and also deeply thoughtful and heartfelt about her work. This book reflects that and then some.
"The stories run the gamut from recovering from surgeries and injuries, to recovering from chronic disease processes like lupus and MS, to recovering from emotional wounds and traumas such as rape and depression."
A delight for full-on body nerds and laypeople alike, The Roll Model is without a doubt the most thorough resource guide not only on self-myofascial release, but on self-care as a whole, that I have ever come across. Weighing in at 432 pages, if you want to know how to help yourself heal the issues in your tissues, this book has what you need.
To give you a taste of the goodness that lies within, the book is structured as follows:
- Chapter One: A New Model of Self-Care Healthcare - A rallying cry for all of us to empower ourselves by addressing our needs in a proactive and compassionate way. This chapter defines self-care, and covers the basics of “self-care healthcare."
- Chapter Two: How to Use My Program - Miller introduces people to the magical Tune Up Fitness therapy balls - grippy, pliable rubber balls that come in three sizes, and one Coregeous ball, a gushy, air-filled, pliable ball that is used, as its name suggests, for abdominal work. She also gets into some frequently asked questions, like how often can someone roll and what is the difference between good pain and bad pain?
"True to the promise of this book being the most thorough resource on self-care out there, Miller does not simply talk about our cranky joints or sore muscles."
- Chapter Three: Posture, Pain, Performance: Stand Up for Yourself by Getting on the Ball: - Tackles the woes of modern posture, the costs of bad posture, and what supported posture looks like.
- Chapter Four: The Science Section: Fascia and Proprioception - Body nerds rejoice! If you want to really dive in and get to know more about what fascia is, how it remodels itself, and proprioception - or your “body map” of where you are in space - this chapter dives deep.
- Chapter Five: Know Your Body Better: An Embodied Orientation to Bones and Muscles - Miller helps people to better get to know what’s on the inside by introducing them to 36 “knead-to-know” bony landmarks and 44 “knead-to-know” muscles.
- Chapter Six: The Nine Essential Roll Model Ball Techniques - Like a mini-massage therapy course, Miller takes people through the myriad ways you can use the therapy balls to mimic the hands of a skilled therapist. She covers sustained compression, skin-rolling/shear, stripping, crossfiber, pin and stretch, contract/relax, pin/spin and mobilize, ball plow, and ball stack.
- Chapter Seven: Breath Reset - No book on self-care would be complete if it didn’t turn its attention to the breath. Miller dives deep into how our breath functions, our stress response, and how the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system work. She also details strategies for using the therapy balls to open and facilitate good breath, while saying goodbye to “bad breath."
- Chapter Eight: The Sequences That Reset Your Body - If you want precise, innovative, deeply useful strategies to give (pretty much) every nook and cranny of your body some self-myofasical release love and attention, this chapter is the motherlode. Bright, clear photographs document every strategy, along with good test and retest check-ins.
"A delight for full-on body nerds and laypeople alike, The Roll Model is without a doubt the most thorough resource guide not only on self-myofascial release, but on self-care as a whole, that I have ever come across."
- Chapter Nine: The “Roll” of Relaxation - Diving even deeper into a tour of your nervous system, this chapter addresses the lost art of downregulating ourselves so that we can reap the benefits of deep relaxation.
- Chapter Ten: Soul Rolling: When You “Knead” More Than a Physical Fix - True to the promise of this book being the most thorough resource on self-care out there, Miller does not simply talk about our cranky joints or sore muscles. She also addresses how unassimilated emotion finds a way of expressing itself in the body, and how people can heal deeper emotional wounds with “soul rolling."
- Chapter Eleven: What Next? Tune Up Fitness and Corrective Exercise - Miller finishes with a teaser that addresses training to complement rolling, and defines the method that gave birth to all of this: Yoga Tune Up.
Personal Transformation Stories
What you can’t see in the chapter breakdowns is perhaps my favorite part of the book: scattered throughout the text are stories from 22 people who have used The Roll Model Method to heal themselves. I am a bit of a junkie for stories of transformation, so I realize I’m an easy sell here, but I challenge anyone to make it through all of these stories with dry eyes. Not possible.
The stories run the gamut from recovering from surgeries and injuries, to recovering from chronic disease processes like lupus and multiple sclerosis, to recovering from emotional wounds and traumas such as rape and depression. The stories give so much heart to this book, and also demonstrate the broad range of its application.
I’ll end with a quotation Miller uses in the beginning of The Roll Model:
“Everyone has a doctor in him or her; we just have to help it in its work. The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well.”
Right on. Go, read it, and then get on the ball!
The Roll Model" is available for $24.68 at Amazon.com.