Foam rolling is a type of mysofascial (muscle) release. We all have experienced the effects of delayed onset muscles soreness (DOMS) due to our workout routines or the repetitive motions we do in our daily lives; however, if we don’t relieve the muscle soreness it will lead to increased muscle fatigue and pain in the future.
When it is healthy, fascia is flexible and glides smoothly; however, bindings (adhesions) in the fascia can form for a variety of reasons (muscle injury, inactivity, inflammation, repetition or trauma). Exercise or stagnant movement can lead to fascial stiffness. When you foam roll, you help improve muscle function by ‘resetting’ the tight areas so the fascia can function optimally.
When using a foam roller, it is better to have a softer foam roller rather than a firmer one. It might feel tender as you roll through the tissue, but it should not be agonizing. With each pass through the muscle group, you can work deeper into the tissue for more release. It is very possible to find several trigger points throughout your body; the earlier you find and treat them the quicker your relief will be. When you hit a spot that’s especially painful or tight, pause here and try to relax. Be very patient and keep pressure on the muscle until you feel the tension release.
Foam rolling is effective with people of varying activity levels. Stimulating blood flow to the affected areas will increase the level of oxygen to your sore muscles reducing your recovery time. It’s like having your own deep tissue massage at home. Everyone can benefit from having a foam roller.