When muscular aches and pain strike, many trainers and athletes turn to foam rollers for relief. The self-myofascial release accomplished with a foam roller is one of the simplest but beneficial things you can do for your body and just about anybody can do it. Many of us can’t afford regular massages or a physical therapist to relieve the muscle stiffness and knots in our bodies but with the foam roller, you can release tension, increase circulation, reduce scar tissue and boost your flexibility.
Physical therapists and knowledgeable coaches and fitness trainers have been using and encouraging the use of foam rollers for years to relax and “release” tight muscles. When used properly, the foam roller is used to massage your muscles and soft tissues in order to promote myofascial release, which relaxes (releases) connective tissue layers that surround your muscle tissue which can cause myalgia, pain resulting from restrictive tightness.
Ready to try foam rolling?
Starting with your larger muscle groups, place the roller on the floor and position your body on top of it and roll slowly and steadily as you allow your weight to press down on the roller. As you continue to roll, paying special attention to the muscles that feel especially tight, during your “self-massage” you will also find tender, painful spots, these are “trigger points” and can be “released” or relaxed by holding that roller position for 30 seconds until the pain eases.
The many benefits of foam rolling include:
- Relieving the painful muscular tightness, tension and tension knots, called
- Increasing blood flow and circulation by reducing the adhesions in the fascia, the fibrous layer that surrounds muscle which may be reducing blood flow to the area.
- Lengthening your muscles, aiding in rehabilitation and recovery from injury.
- Relaxing adhesions and breaking down deep scar tissue.
- Increasing the flow of lymph back to the heart.
- Improving flexibility and range of motion.
How does foam rolling work?
The connective tissue layer surrounding your muscles called the superficial fascia is composed of adipose (fatty) tissue, nerves, and small vessels that carry blood and lymph. This fascial layer combined with the underlying muscles form the myofascial system. Training, Injury, inflammation, or extended periods of inactivity can cause the muscles and their fascial covering to “stick” to one another forming adhesions and trigger points, which cause limited movement and pain. Your body weight on the foam roller activates embedded sensory receptors called Golgi Tendon Organ which then signal the muscles to relax or “release” the tension and adhesions allowing you greater range of movement, flexibility and relief of tension and tightness.
Use your foam roller regularly.
Regular use of your foam roller resulting in self-myofascial release will loosen your tight muscles that are causing you pain. Use your roller a few minutes each day to release and relieve that muscular tightness and provide those many benefits outlined above!