Basics of Foam Rolling
Foam rolling has become widely appealing for clients in massage therapy clinics and especially for active athletes. Foam rolling is a type of technique that helps inhibit overactive muscles by rolling and smoothing out the muscle. Some might like to think of it as “ironing out” the muscle. It is very beneficial to work out scar tissue and adhesions and help circulate the blood flow. Athletes prefer to use it after working out because it helps the muscle recover and prevent scar tissue.
It is always important to make sure that you are using the proper technique of foam rolling or do it under the care of a professional massage therapist because although it has a reputation of being slightly painful at first, it can be quite uncomfortable if one does it incorrectly.
One mistake that is commonly done with foam rolling is rolling the foam directly over the painful area of the body. Although it seems like common sense to massage directly on the painful area, it can sometimes create inflammation when done with a foam roller. Massage therapists greatly recommend steering away from doing this, as well as rolling too fast or too long. Finding the right motion, right spot, and right pressure is critically important.
There are several key factors for accomplishing a successful foam rolling exercise:
The most important rule is to make sure that you are well hydrated. Although foam rolling helps hydrate the muscle tissue, dehydration ahead of time could cause the tissue to be more stiff and prone to adhesions. Since rolling too fast can be damaging to the tissue, it is fair to say that using slow motion is the only way to go when it comes to a beneficial foam rolling exercise. Think of an iron in this sense: would it really help smooth out the clothes to iron quickly? Probably not; it is not the speed but the action of the iron that presses the cloth. It is important to remember this aspect of the process when working with the muscles of your body.
Last but not least, try to make this a daily ritual. If it is only done at the massage therapist’s office, make sure to complete it there during your weekly visits. The more you do foam rolling, the more it will benefit your muscles.