Are you an active person who would enjoy the benefits of weekly or even daily massage appointments, but without the price tag that would go along with this luxury? Well this service can be within your budget through the regular use of a foam roller. While this therapeutic tool does not replace the skilled hands of a registered massage therapist, it will help lessen muscle soreness, let you recover from workouts more quickly and keep you flexible and injury free between massage appointments. Self myofascial release, or “foam rolling” has transformed from a once rather mysterious technique used by professional athletes, coaches and therapists, to a daily practise for people of all fitness levels. Fascia is a thin, tough, elastic type of connective that surrounds muscle. This tissue can become restricted due to a number of reasons. Pain, decreased range of motion even injury may result. Myofascial release techniques have been used by sports therapists for years but with the availability of foam rollers you can keep the fascia flexible yourself.
While warming up, cooling down and stretching (at the end of a workout or as separate workout session such as a yoga practice) are all still very important aspects of a workout, they alone are not always enough to release muscle tightness. Foam rolling can assist in relaxing muscle knots, breaking up adhesions between muscle layers, improving range of motion about a joint and restoring normal blood flow, all of which mean quicker workout recovery time. As you “foam roll” the muscles you can control the amount of pressure you apply. It will hurt, especially on those muscle groups that are particularly tight. That discomfort signals the areas that need attention. Focus the rolling on those areas but also roll the length of the muscle. If you foam roll daily the discomfort will diminish.
All of the major muscle groups will benefit from frequent foam rolling. A tight IT band is very often a cause of injury for runners. Rolling it will prevent that. As will rolling the calves, quads and hamstrings. Low back, shoulders, mid and upper back will all benefit as well. Leave no muscle group untouched. There are several sizes of foam rollers available and they come in different densities. There are also small hand held ones. A chiropractor, physiotherapist or personal trainer can help you choose one that suits your purpose. If you are an active person who wishes to remain active and pain free then foam rolling needs to become part of your workout routine.