Self-myofascial release is a fancy term that specialists have used throughout the ages. It is the process of relieving muscle tension by applying pressure to different pain points, also known as ‘knots’ in the body. Myofascial release is a form of physical therapy that helps with sensitivity and tightness in the myofascial tissues. These tissues may be found throughout the body, supporting the muscles in order to do the kinds of activities you love. When pain develops in the myofascial tissues, however, it can be helpful to release trigger points with the use of massage and gentle pressure. Ultimately, the practice of Myofascial release has been known to increase flexibility and provide pain relief. Today, the healing modality is being recognized in an even wider and more mainstream context. Foam rollers, those cylindrical tools you may see laying around in the gym, are a popular and effective tool used for self-myofascial release. At around just $20, foam rollers are becoming the go-to treatment for at-home therapy, helping us to move better and feel better so we can keep on rolling.
Why You Should Start Foam Rolling
This tool is inexpensive, it’s easy to use, and it’s even easier to reap the benefits. In fact, there are a wealth of studies out there that showcase the healing powers of foam rolling and we’ve scoured the latest research for you. According to the Journal of Sports Rehabilitation, adding foam rolling to a traditional stretching practice increases flexibility in the hip more so than stretching, itself. In recent years, we have even found static stretching to be harmful to athletic performance. Acute static stretching has been shown to lower reaction time. It has also been proven to reduce muscle strength endurance significantly. Contrary to the more traditional route of stretching, foam rolling has shown no such effect on performance. Instead, studies have shown that foam rolling does not interfere with an athlete’s potential and performance.
In another study, it was concluded that self-myofascial release (SMR) has a positive effect on delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOM). The study published in Current Sports Medicine Reports states, “SMR has been observed to decrease soreness following DOMS, which may indirectly enhance performance by allowing the individual to exercise longer and harder.” Whether you’d like to be able to exercise harder or increase flexibility, there is a pretty good case to be made for foam rolling. That being said, here are four different ways you can use a foam roller to reach your goals in fitness and in health.
For recovery and training company ActiveLife Solutions, Blackroll has become a core product line. With Blackroll, there are two main ways to use a foam roller, regeneration and functional training. In terms of regeneration, a foam roller may be used to heal from the wear and tear of your daily life. These kinds of exercises combine the benefits of massage with the soothing pain they refer to as “Wohlweh.” Using a product such as Blackroll®, strain in the back and gluteal area can easily be easily soothed. Just think about how much you sit and put strain on these areas throughout the day. Simply use the weight of your body to gently move with the foam roller and loosen up those areas of tension.
- Functional Training
Not only can a foam roller help you recover, it can help you get ahead as well. By incorporating a foam roller into your fitness routine, you can begin to increase intensity and enhance training. Thanks to the round shape of the foam roller, the tool can be used to challenge balance and strengthen different muscle groups. Here, you can find specific exercises to engage the core, back, hips, and more.
Much like Myofascial Release, acupressure is a traditional healing modality that can also be done, yourself. By applying manual pressure to specific points on the body, the traditional Chinese medicine may relieve stress, headaches, and chronic pain. It is also believed to restore a natural flow of energy, or Qi to the body. A foam roller may be used to practice acupressure in the comfort of your own home. If you suffer from tension in the neck, it can be helpful to lie down on you back and place the roller right under your neck. Hold this position for up to one minute, gently allowing your head to rest and stretch your tired neck.
- Use an App
In the digital age, many of us turn to apps to reach our fitness goals. Luckily, Blackroll recently rolled out their own app in order to support users in their healing journey. The Blackroll® App can be used to guide training with exercises for each body part and pain point. It can also be used to provide techniques for recovery and self-massage.
We may all find the power to heal ourselves within. Grab a foam roller and see how powerful you can really be!