-Ed Blignaut

I had a back injury in 1997 which was no more than a jarring on a tennis court but it left me with four “aches”: sciatica in my left leg, sore left hip and sacroiliac to the extent that I could not stand on that leg  and a backbone which clicked with each step. In two years out of sport chiropractors or physios could not repair me permanently.


My orthopodaedic surgeon (now deceased) made me rest in prostrate fashion for the end-of-year school holiday before going ahead with a hip operation. X-rays revealed cartilage thinning and possible osteophytes on spinal facets.


During that period I read up about backs and came across an article in which a man repaired his sore hip by rolling on a tennis ball. I obtained partial relief from this, including the spine clicking, but they returned. I was able to hear the clicks by lying on my back on the floor, raising the legs vertically with the shins horizontal and then rotating both legs. The clicks rebounded off the walls of the room and transferred through the floor into my head.


On reading up, I was most impressed with the symmetery of the back, so made a symmetrical massager out of two tennis balls and a wooden dowel (this was disallowed, so now use an imported plastic rod). With the massager in position under and across my spine on the right spot on the floor I was able to rotate my legs until the clicking stopped. It took 45 rotations to start with, but gradually decreased in number. A friend at the Sports Science Institute, Prof “Kit” Vaughan, head of Biomechanical Engineering,  was very impressed with the results and suggested selling it. After demonstrating to Prof Tim Noaks  (head of SSI), it went to Groote Schuur hospital for testing at the Orthopaedic unit (Prof Johan Walters) and to Dr John  Gardiner (neurologist). Due clearance was obtained and testing proceeded at the SSI. Within five weeks I had cleared up the clicking and could rotate my legs freely without the B2N. All the aches disappeared and I was back on the sports fields!


I could only sell the B2N in 2004 when I retired as a  teacher. As a part-time job I have travelled the country showing the B2N at physio AGM’s (Pretoria, Durban and PMB) and to chiropractors, biokineticists, Pilates and massage therapists etc., as well as to the general public on enquiry. Over 2500 have been sold with a number of re-orders and some Pharmacies stocking them. Provincial Pharmacy (Roger Gilson) has  started stocking them after a trip to visit the PE physios. In Joburg two groups of  physios were very interested in them to treat headaches and fibromyalgia. As a result of their suggestions I now produce one with smaller, hairless balls for the base of the skull area where they give greater point pressure and a harder one for those who want them like this. A recent addition has been a solid sponge rubber ball B2N matching the hardness of the original red one.


I am amazed that such a simple object has produced such a consistent stream of expressions of pleasure and tension release with its use on the neck, back, stomach (constipation too!), thighs, hamstrings, calves (quicker repair of muscle injuries) and balls of the feet. It has been featured in Men’s Health (2004) and Discovery Health (2005) magazines and the name has now been registered as a trade mark. My “agents” are the various physios who buy them from me at R80 for the red and two-tone neck B2Ns, R90 for the solid one and R100 for the hard yellow one, with a R10 reduction for three or more. Those taking 10 get a free poster showing the various applications. For 20 they get one free as well as a poster. Naturally the “hands only” physios are not keen, though some are impressed that the B2N is no substitute for a physios fingers. However, many massagers use them as an aid which takes the pressure off their fingers.


I have extracted a set of  daily 3-minute (Pilates) exercises without which I gradually revert to my old back which sounded like a gear-box gone wrong.



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