The Swiss ball was developed in 1963 by Aquilino Cosani, an Italian plastics manufacturer. It was called the “Pezzi Ball” at that time and was originally designed to help stroke patients with their recovery and was primarily used in Swiss neurological rehabilitation units.
Tim Ellis, the founder of Excel Physiotherapy and Wellness located in Mascot, Australia, has been working with the Swiss ball for years. For him, this colorful ball is one of the best Swiss inventions ever made, alongside his all-time favorites–the ever-reliable Swiss Army knife, superior quality Swiss chocolates, and Swiss cheese.
The Important Role of the Swiss Ball to Stroke Patients
When Tim was still attending the University of East London, he once asked his professor, “If this can help stroke patients with loss of balance issues, why can’t it help our low back pain patients with a loss of balance, proprioception, and core stability?” Apparently, Tim was not the only person who was asking this question.
Discovering More Uses for the Swiss Ball
In the mid 1990’s, the benefits of the Swiss ball became available to physiotherapy patients and, eventually, this bright, colorful ball was being used practically everywhere – in fitness gyms and even in bedrooms as part of home workout routines. What used to be an instrument to help recovering stroke patients is now being used to engage the core, tone the abs, and stretch tight muscles.
There is actually a lot to love about the Swiss ball. For one, the Swiss ball’s bold and colorful appearance provides a positive and energetic vibe to any space. And aside from its aesthetic quality, the Swiss ball is an effective tool for engaging the proprioceptive muscles of your back. This ball is also a great tool for stretching the lower back and hip muscles which, without the Swiss ball, would be hard to stretch without potentially incurring an injury. Moreover, the Swiss ball allows the user to engage the global muscles, such as the abs, glutes, and paraspinal muscles.
There are a lot of uses for this unassuming tool, and many people like physiotherapy patients can benefit from using the Swiss ball during their therapy and exercise sessions. This ball is also good for those who spend long hours sitting at their work desk, those who are suffering from back pains, people with tight upper or lower back muscles, those who want to develop their core muscles or spine, and even those who just want to have a bit more fun while they exercise in the gym or at home.
The Swiss ball is definitely something that everyone should have at home, at the gym, or at the physio center. It is such a practical investment that also serves as a delightful addition to any space. Having it around does not require any maintenance and you can just leave it at a corner after use. And considering the many health benefits that this ball offers, there is simply no reason why one would not fall in love with the Swiss ball.
Tim Ellis is the Principal Physiotherapist at Excel Physiotherapy and Wellness in Mascot, New South Wales, Australia. He specialises in treating complex necks and backs and developing highly effective exercise programs for his patients. Tim is committed to integrative health, healthy eating, exercise, and life long learning which he shares through his blogs.