Foam rolling as a health and fitness practice has exploded alongside the growing fitness industry. It is a technique that has long been used by professional athletes, coaches, and therapists but is now recommended to people of all ages and fitness levels.
Foam rolling is a form of self-myofascial release, which means self-massage, used to release muscle tightness or trigger points. Trigger points are ‘knots’ in muscles that cause and refer pain when pressure is applied to them. These tight/sore muscles (trigger points) with the associated connective tissue (fascia) will limit performance and recovery if left untreated.
Foam rolling is not comfortable!
Think of it like the pain you get while stretching. It should be uncomfortable, but not unbearable, and when you are done it should feel better. If you go on the internet there are thousands of ideas for what you can roll and how. As each person is an individual with unique needs we advise chatting to your chiropractor for advice on what you should be foam rolling. This will help you to cause yourself the least possible discomfort.
Foam rolling should not cause bruising. For this reason we recommend smooth (not knobbly!) rollers that are foam throughout rather than a hollow tube.
There are a number of benefits to foam rolling:
- It can be a great warm up before exercise, as it helps to increase the blood flow to your muscles, improving the delivery of oxygen during exercise
- For this reason, foam rolling after exercise can also improve recovery
- It is possible to focus on specific problem areas to relieve discomfort from tight muscles and joints
- It can help to increase your range of motion and flexibility by mobilising your muscles and joints
- The process can also stimulate the lymph system, and improve circulation helping your body to heal
Overall, foam rolling can help to increase physical ability, reduce stiffness, prevent injury and help you to feel your best. If you have a specific injury or persistent pain it would be best to seek advice before embarking on a foam rolling routine.
Have you tried foam rolling? If you’ve found it beneficial, or know someone who might, please share this article with them!
This may be helpful: Fascia, what on earth is it?