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Meet Riaz Fredericks of Bula Ball in Del Rey

Today we’d like to introduce you to Riaz Fredericks.

Riaz, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I’m a former international professional rugby player. I suffered several injuries to my neck and back that resulted in chronic low back and neck pain from the time I was 18 all the way to my late-30s. After surgery to fix a herniated disc I began a program of therapy that ultimately led to the development of the Bula Ball Method. After my surgery, I experimented with yoga, self-myofascial release, controlled breathing and strengthening exercises designed to engage, exercise, strengthen and balance my core muscles. These exercises ultimately improved the movement and function of my pelvis and lower back allowing me to fully recovered from my surgery and completely overcome my lower back pain. I am now as fit and active as I was when I was playing rugby fulltime, but I don’t suffer with any of the pain. My back is so fit and healthy that I was able to complete an intensive 6-month yoga teacher training certification, I have built a healthy four-year yoga practice that has gone from strength to strength living pain-free! I credit the program I put together with changing my life, I knew very quickly how effective and beneficial my program had been for me and I want to share what I learned with others suffering from chronic pain.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I spent most of my adult life as a professional athlete. With Bula Ball, I knew I had found something that could help people suffering from chronic pain but executing my vision has been a challenge. Since I have been learning as I go it has taken me time to develop a workable business plan, marketing plan and to identify and source suppliers. It has taken a long time to get from my idea, to a product, to a website, to a marketing plan that reaches potential customers, but I think the business is now in a position to be a success, though I still learn something new about running a business every day!

Bula Ball – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
The Bula Method is a comprehensive exercise program designed to overcome chronic back pain. It works by increasing and improving the function and movement of the pelvic-lumbar relationship to achieve overall physical balance. The program comes with instructional videos and various props. Most people are familiar with foam rollers that are used to massage tight muscles. The Bula Method takes it a step further by really focusing on the science behind why something like a foam roller can relieve pain. Most lower back pain stems from a weak dysfunctional core system, a weak core system creates imbalances all through the body, most notably in the fascial (connective tissue) system, which is the web-like structure that connects muscles, bone, nerves, organs, joints and every single cell.

When most people complain of tight muscles, they are really complaining about both tight and constricted muscle and fascia (myofascial). With that in mind, the Bula Method takes a two-pronged approach to relieving back pain. First, the videos teach specific exercises designed to exercise and strengthen the core system. Second, the props in the form of balls and yoga blocks allow the user to release built of tension in both the fasical and muscular systems and restore the body to a more supple, mobile naturally aligned state. There are other products on the market designed to relive fascial tension, what sets the Bula Method apart is that it actually teaches the user how to use the props, combined with strengthening exercises, that have whole body benefits which work to completely overcome lower back pain. As a company in the health and wellness space, my proudest moments are always when I hear from customers who have had success with the product. I know first-hand what it feels like to suffer from chronic back pain and am always thrilled when I can help someone find their way out of pain.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Anyone who has played sports at a high level knows that there is always a bit of luck at play, but good luck only ever comes to those who work hard. With respect to my athletic career, I worked exceptionally hard and was rewarded with the occasional lucky break. My experience in the business world has been similar. I have worked very hard to get the business where it is now, but I have been lucky to have friends who were able to help set up my website at a very low cost and a lawyer wife who has been able to help with the corporate formation documents.

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