Using foam rollers to self massage can have several benefits. The first one is cost; you can get similar results of a sports massage without the expense and time of making an appointment, going there and sitting until it’s your turn and then paying up at the end of the session. Sports massages can cost quite a bit with prices at the lower end ranging from $60-$80 per hour and higher end prices at luxury spas may run as high as $300 per hour session.
Meanwhile a foam roller that you can use in your own home in your free time whenever you have a spare ten or fifteen minutes costs anywhere from $20-$40. Big difference there in time and money, but let”s look at the important aspect of the foam roller, the physical benefits. Foam rollers help to stretch muscles and tendons and breaks down soft tissue adhesions and scar tissue. Simple exercises that utilize your own body weight with a cylindrical foam roller allow you to perform a self-massage or myofascial release, break up trigger points, and soothe tight fascia and also helps to stimulate blood flow and circulation to the soft tissues.
The myofascia is made up of several components including the superficial fascia, which is a soft connective tissue located just below the skin that 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.
Myofascial release is a technique that utilizes gentle but constant pressure on the soft tissue while applying traction to the fascia. This technique helps to soften and lengthen the fascia resulting in the breakdown of scar tissue and adhesions between the skin, muscles and bone. This technique has been shown to relieve pain from shin splints and IT band syndrome as well as improve flexibility and the joints range of motion.
Using foam rollers for self massage is an inexpensive method of achieving these benefits and with some experimentation you can find the best method for you to gain maximum effectiveness in the target areas. The newest style of foam roller, the Grid Foam Roller, has a unique design that allows for a more targeted trigger point self massage.
Trigger points are tiny knots that can develop in muscles when they are injured or overworked. They may cause local pain, headaches, neck and jaw pain, tennis elbow, and even carpal tunnel syndrome. Breaking down and loosening these trigger points with the Grid Foam Roller may help to relieve this pain and discomfort.
Any time after strenuous exercise the muscles tend to build up lactic acid and an after workout massage help to break this down and remove it from within the muscle tissue. This lactic acid buildup is what causes the pain and cramps associated with the strenuous exercise. Using the foam roller after exercising is an excellent method of obtaining an all-over body massage to help break down this lactic acid buildup and prevent these cramps.
Using the foam roller before a more strenuous workout can help to “pre-stretch” the tendons, ligaments and muscles which help to prevent injury. And besides all that, it just feels good. Everyone likes a good massage and when you can keep this little roller put up and get it out and use it whenever you have an extra few minutes to stretch and massage yourself then why not?