What is a Foam Roller and why do you need one to help alleviate soreness and pain? A foam roller is a large cylinder-shaped object which is typically composed of high-density foam, or other composite material. The practice of using a foam roller is known as foam rolling, or a self-myofascial release. It is a type of self-massage typically used to release trigger points, or relieve muscle tightness. The rollers can also be used to increase muscle strength using a variety of exercises.
What are the Benefits?
There are many benefits which result from using a foam roller which include:
- The improvement of circulation for better cellular function and intercellular communication
- Improved flexibility through the elongating of muscles
- The lengthening of ligaments and tendons
- The releasing of tight muscles
- Reduce your level of soreness after muscle exertion
- Allows for the stretching of areas that are otherwise difficult to reach using deep pressure massage methods.
- Prevention of injuries
- The promotion of an optimal range of spinal motion
- The breaking down of knots which are found in muscles and reduction of pain
- The strengthening of the body and building of muscles through a variety of exercises
Should I Consult a Doctor?
As with any new exercise routine or lifestyle change, it is possible to injure yourself while using the foam roller. While it is important to be aware of the possibility of injury, when using foam rollers correctly and mindfully, they do not require supervision. In order to use the roller properly, keep the following tips in mind:
- Ensure the roller is positioned correctly
- It is important to slow down in order to control the intensity of the exercise
- Avoid long periods of compression in one area, especially when using the roller on the spine.
- Use the roller sparingly in areas where blood vessels and nerves can be compressed, or avoid using the roller in that area altogether.
- Be aware of the areas where blood vessels can easily be compressed, which are behind the knee, and in the inner leg on the area close to the groin.
- Be attentive when rolling the hamstring to avoid compressing the sciatic nerve.
It is recommended to consult a doctor prior to using a foam roller for the treatment of any major ailments, just to be safe.
How Difficult are Foam Roller Exercises?
Luckily, foam rolling exercises are incredibly easy to learn and are an effective workout, even for beginners. Using the foam roller for areas of the body such as the thoracic spine, is easy and very beneficial for those looking for exercise, as well as those looking for a deep massage.
When rolling, place the roller under a muscle group. If a knot is found, maintain pressure on the knot for about 30 to 60 seconds. It may seem daunting to try at first, but the simple exercises can be easily learned and adapted into daily life. A foam roller is a simple and effective way to stretch, massage and exercise the body. This simple and affordable tool can help you reduce many types of joint, muscle and other pains naturally, without invasive treatments or medications.