Foam rollers offer many of the same benefits as a sports massage.
The foam roller increases blood flow and circulation to the soft tissues warming up the muscles. It also breaks down soft tissue adhesions and scar tissue. By using your own body weight and rolling down a cylindrical foam roller you can perform a self-massage or myofascial release, break up adhesions, and soothe tight fascia. Foam rollers can also be used by athletes as part of a warm up or cool down.
The superficial fascia is a soft connective tissue located just below the skin. It wraps and connects the muscles, bones, nerves and blood vessels of the body. Together, muscle and fascia make up what is called the myofascia system. For various reasons including disuse, overuse, not enough stretching, or injuries, the fascia and the underlying muscle tissue can become stuck together. This is called an adhesion and it results in restricted muscle movement. It also causes pain, soreness and reduced flexibility or range of motion.
Myofascial release is a technique used in sports & remedial massage in which a practitioner uses gentle, sustained pressure on the soft tissues while applying traction to the fascia. This technique results in softening and lengthening (release) of the fascia and breaking down scar tissue or adhesions between skin, muscles and bones.
Myofascial release has also been shown to relieve various muscle and joint pains it also improves flexibility and range of motion.
Foam rollers are inexpensive and with a bit of experimentation you can target just about any muscle group.
(Foam rollers are available from both Body Consultancy clinics in Bournemouth and Ringwood for just £12!)