Foam rolling is a self-myofascial release (SMR) stretching technique that has been embraced throughout the fitness industry. This effective and simple to do technique delivers positive, feel good results. Using the foam roller can deliver improvements in flexibility, muscle recovery, movement efficiency, inhibiting overactive muscles, and pain reduction with just minutes of application
SMR can be done with a variety of tools beyond foam rollers, such as medicine balls, handheld rollers or other assistive devices. Foam rollers vary in density, surface structure, and even temperature modifications. Whatever the tool or variation selected, SMR focuses on the neural and fascial systems in the body that can be negatively influenced by poor posture, repetitive motions, or dysfunctional movements. These mechanically stressful actions are recognized as an injury by the body, initiating a repair process called the Cumulative Injury Cycle. This cycle follows a path of inflammation, muscle spasm, and the development of soft tissue adhesions that can lead to altered neuromuscular control and muscle imbalance. The adhesions reduce the elasticity of the soft tissues and can eventually cause a permanent change in the soft tissue structure. SMR focuses on alleviating these adhesions (also known as “trigger points” or “knots”) to restore optimal muscle motion and function.
The Benefits of SMR
Correction of muscle imbalances
Improved joint range of motion
Improved neuromuscular efficiency
Reduced soreness and improved tissue recovery
Suppression/reduction of trigger point sensitivity and pain
Decreased neuromuscular hypertonicity
Provide optimal length-tension relationships
Decrease the overall effects of stress on the human movement system
Foam rolling is not appropriate for all clients, including those with congestive heart failure, kidney failure, or any organ failure, bleeding disorders, or contagious skin conditions. If clients have medical issues, have them seek the advice of their medical professional before starting SMR or foam rolling activities.