Foam rollers are on the rise as an effective form of self-massage treatment and self-care. You’ll notice more gyms and fitness centres are equipped with long cylindrical foam rollers. It is also an inexpensive option for you to continue muscle care at home through a number of exercises!
Foam rollers can mimic a massage-like kneading when applied to a muscle, and utilize your own body weight to distribute pressure. Look for a roller with high density foam that will stand up to the weight applied, and work the soft tissue effectively. Research has shown that using a roller for Self Myo-fascial Release greatly improves range of motion without impairing muscle performance. All depending on how you position the roller, the weight you apply to the muscle, and your goals, you can target different areas with different techniques.
The qualities that you ideally want to have with muscle, aside from strength, include length: a muscle that does not maintain a constricted, shortened form at rest, and pliability: a muscle that is not rigid and is able to move easily alongside other structures in the body. We know that exercise allows us to develop strength, and that stretching afterwards encourages the muscles back into a healthy lengthened and pliable state and reduces tension/soreness. Massage therapy, or a foam roller, will help us achieve the last key characteristic of a healthy muscle, flexibility, by breaking up adhesions and/or scar tissue. This flexibility and malleability not only benefits the muscle itself but also the other muscles and tissues surrounding it. Within a common space in the body, healthy structures will continue to glide and function smoothly. Because our entire body is connected through fascial connective tissue, a once isolated issue can initiate a domino effect and create secondary imbalances throughout the body.
There is an informative and very thorough article on sports medicine that talks more about what the rollers can achieve and how to use them. Have a read here: Foam Roller Exercises for Easing Tight Muscles.
Broadway Wellness is a multi-disciplinary healthcare clinic that has been located in the Fairview area of Vancouver, BC since 2004. Our Vancouver clinic provides the services of highly trained and well-reviewed practitioners in the areas of Registered Massage Therapy, Naturopathic Medicine, and Acupuncture.