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What is a Therapy Ball?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 10 October 2019
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A therapy ball is a large inflatable ball that can be used in a variety of ways. It is also called an exercise ball, but the initial balls were used in various therapy contexts. As far back as the 1960s, smaller versions of the therapy ball were used with infants to help work on physical difficulties, and use has since been extrapolated to the population at large. A variety of exercises and even sitting on the ball may have some applications in treating injuries.

Usually the therapy ball is made of polyvinyl chloride and they come in different diameters. This means people purchasing one can chose the size that is most comfortable at present height. Those looking for these balls should make sure the balls are puncture resistant, as this will assure fairly safe seating.

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One of the things that can take some time is learning how to sit on a therapy ball. It may first be necessary to learn how to balance and stabilize the back for better balance. It may be a good idea to position the ball close to a wall so that people can catch themselves while learning how to balance. Once this balance has been mastered, people seldom forget it and they often find the ball so comfortable that they’ll use it in place of an office chair if they have to do a lot of sitting. There is some dispute about whether constant sitting on the ball is truly the best seating arrangement from an ergonomic point of view.

Though the large ball suitable for sitting may be one definition of the therapy ball, there are a number of smaller balls used in therapeutic settings. These can be very small, suited to placing under a limb during a stretch, or medium sized and used to increase strength and flexibility. Even the medicine ball is sometimes considered a therapy ball since it can be used to help restore or improve function or strength.

If people are asked by a physical therapist to obtain a ball for work at home, it’s a good idea to ask what type and size is required. There are so many different kinds that might be used. Often, this means getting one of the larger ones, which are fortunately fairly inexpensive. The smaller balls can frequently be pricier. A physical therapist may sell the balls needed for practice at home, however, and may have the best quality ones at lower prices.

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