I started seeing foam rollers around and, of course, decided I needed one, even though I wasn’t really sure what to do with it! A review in Current Sports Medicine Reports analyzed nine studies that examined people who used foam rollers for self-massage and found that the use of some sort of roller massager promoted faster recovery and better range of motion. Foam rollers don’t replace the hands of a trained massage therapist, but they can provide similar benefits and serve as temporary relief for avid exercisers. They suggest that for best results, try “rolling” before and after a workout.
The foam roller can be a more affordable way to give yourself a deep tissue massage. By slowly rolling over various areas of your body, you’ll help break up adhesions and scar tissue and speed up the healing and recovery process after a workout.
Self-myofascial release is a fancy term for self-massage to release muscle tightness or trigger points. Releasing trigger points helps to reestablish proper movement patterns and hopefully pain free movement, and can even enhance performance. Stretching alone is not always enough to release muscles tightness. You can do with with a foam roller, lacrosse ball, or your own hands. When you apply pressure to specific points on your body you are able to aid in the recovery of muscles and assist in returning them to normal function. Normal function means the muscles are elastic, healthy, and ready to perform.
Here’s a video with the one I have and here are some trigger point release exercises – I’m definitely in for the foot rolling!