One of our popular techniques here in Peaceful Warriors Wellness Center is part of our Therapeutic Massage service called Myofascial Release. Myofascial Release is a massage therapy technique that releases a broad area of muscles that would be causing pain or discomfort. The use of knowledge of muscle connectivity and trigger points across the body helps narrow down what is causing the pain but isn’t directly the source of the pain. For example, being you may have knee pain, but looking at the hip and back muscles and ankle may be the areas that are tight and causing the knee pain. It’s similar to deep tissue, without it necessarily deep pressure.
You can have a massage therapist do this for you at our office, and maintain the work they have done with Foam Rolling. Self-Myofascial Release (SMR) can be done with foam rolling to get relief from soreness, tightness, and inflammation. Of course, make sure you check with your health care provider before attempting on your own. And seek guidance from a professional on foam rolling for best results and injury prevention.
Benefits of Foam Rolling regularly, regardless if you’re an athlete or not, include:
- Improvement of your range of motion
- Muscle Pain Relief
Some things to be aware of with foam rolling include:
- Considered a safe practice overall but should be avoided with muscle tears or other related injuries unless approved by your health care provider.
- Foam rolling is for muscles, so avoid foam rolling joints such as knees, ankles, and elbows. Doing so could result in hyperextension or damage.
- Foam Rolling while pregnant may help relieve tension but avoid foam rolling the calves in the third trimester as it is possible to induce premature labor, so consult your doctor before doing so.
Choosing a foam roller that’s best for you may take some trial and error. There are many varieties out there and having some knowledge of them can help narrow down the search.
Foam rollers come in different lengths, diameters, textures, and firmness. They can be found at many athletic stores, sold with yoga mats, or various online retailers.
Kinds of foam rollers you can find include:
- Smooth Rollers: They’re a smooth and dense cylinder shape that is great to start with if you’re new to foam rolling. This tends to be the cheaper option as well. Getting a small one that is the width of a yoga mat is an option, and some retailers even offer versions that are cut in half like a semi-circle. Most people choose the longer option for laying on vertically to stretch the chest muscles and shoulders.
- Textured Rollers: They are as implied, textured. Very similar to the smooth roller but they are great for deeper work into the muscles and working out knots. But can be uncomfortable for some people.
- Foam Covered Massage Stick: These are more for you to manually work out areas like a pin roller on your upper back and legs. There are also varieties that are large flat plastic beads for rolling as well. But not great for rolling your entire body on.
- Foam Massage Ball: are great for targeting specific areas as well, such as a knot in the shoulders or stretching the balls of the feet.
After you have acquired your health care provider approval and a foam roller, you can begin to learn how to use it effectively. There is plenty of online resources such as on Youtube or talk with your Physical Therapist, Massage Therapist, or Physical Fitness Trainer about how to use them. Many foam rollers may come with a guide as well. Here are some tips for foam rollers:
- Start with light pressure as you get used to foam rolling. It may be uncomfortable in the beginning since your muscles are tight/uncomfortable. This is controlled by how much bodyweight you apply to the foam roller. Use your arms or legs to support your body and control the amount of weight.
- Start with rolling the area for about 10 seconds and work your way up over time to 20 or 30 seconds.
- Drinking water helps overall with muscle tightness, soreness, and movement of lactic acid out of the muscles.
Some beginner videos for getting into foam rolling:
Choosing your first foam roller: