- What is the Foam Roller and what are the health benefits of using it regularly?
- Uses of the Foam Roller: What injuries is it useful for and what therapies can we apply with it?
- Can using the Foam Roller on a regular basis have any side effects?
- What are the best alternatives to the foam roller for pain relief and self-massage?
The massage roller is a completely safe product for home and professional use. However, it is important that you know the minimum conditions of use so that you can exploit its full potential of benefits on the myofascial tissue and muscular system.
Furthermore, in this article you will learn the types of therapies you can do with the massage roller and what kind of side effects it has when used inappropriately.
What is the Foam Roller and what are the health benefits of using it regularly?
The Foam Roller is a versatile product that can be used for therapeutic and sporting purposes to maximise muscle function, prevent injury and facilitate tissue recovery when there is minor damage. Its structure is based on a synthetic and resistant material, which supports the pressures and slides with the body weight of the person performing the massage.
Check the types of benefits you get with this massage roller:
- Reduces muscle tension: small muscle contractures cause stiffness in the musculature, these contractures can occur in one or more muscles at a time. The massage roller manages to relax the fibres that are irregularly grouped until the muscle is brought to its normal state of rest.
- Releases the myofascial tissue: this is another of the great advantages of this product, which relaxes the fascia in the area where you apply the massage roller. All it takes is gentle strokes and little pressure for the fascia to release the tension it has been accumulating during physical activities.
- Increases blood circulation: constant pressure on the skin causes vessels and veins to dilate and increases blood flow. Athletes use this roller to deliver more oxygen and nutrients to the muscle fibres and connective tissues.
- Regulates body temperature: without the need to sweat, the massage keeps the skin and tissues at an ideal temperature to promote recovery and keep muscles active. This is a complementary benefit to the increased blood flow that improves muscular endurance.
- Eliminates mental stress: the body and mind are connected to the point that stressful situations are reflected in muscle function. When you feel tension in your lower back, legs and feet it is likely that the massage roller can release that tension and relieve the stress you feel at those times.
- Treats plantar fasciitis: this is a tissue that connects the heel of the foot to the metatarsals, it is caused by overloaded tension and pressure on the plantar arch. The roller relaxes the tense tissue and prevents it from irritation and tearing, a situation that leaves a strong localised pain when waking up in the morning.
Uses of the Foam Roller: What injuries is it useful for and what therapies can we apply with it?
Injuries and muscle recovery
Whenever you have a minor physical injury, you can use this product and relieve symptoms such as pain, stiffness and annoying knots that prevent you from carrying out your daily activities. Please note that you should not use the roller immediately after moderate and chronic injuries such as sprains. This product is great for facilitating muscle recovery from intense physical activities because it regulates the amount of nutrients that reach the muscle fibres and accelerates cell multiplication.
Myofascial pain syndrome can trigger unbearable discomfort in the body, which should be monitored by a specialist and is likely to recommend the use of release massages, such as the one you can get with the Foam Roller. Another type of chronic pain is that which people feel in the face of physical injuries that have not healed over time, perhaps due to degenerative diseases and wear and tear of tissues. In such cases, it is best to use this product under the initial supervision of a physiotherapist.
Myofascial release therapy
The purpose of the roller is to loosen the stiff movement formed by overloaded physical activities, but often the source of the pain is difficult to locate. Therefore, pressure and gliding is applied to the entire area to provide generalised relief by stimulating trigger points. You can apply the massage roller anywhere there is muscle mass, which contracts and causes pain when the musculature has not been prepared to withstand a certain physical demand.
Relieve pain at trigger points
As it is not always easy to locate trigger points correctly, it is important that people have a minimum of guidance from a physiotherapist. In this way, there will be adequate stimulation of the trigger points. In order to stimulate these points, more manual pressure is required, which is usually the body’s own weight. The Foam Roller is a product that you should use on the floor and start applying light pressure while the body adapts to the new sensory experience.
Improve joint range of motion
When muscles are healthy, tendons and ligaments can perform their functions better. It is a kind of positive side effect because the joints will have a better radius of motion. Remember that muscle tissues cover the whole body and are connected to each other. That’s why a back discomfort can be treated by massaging the buttocks, quadriceps and hamstrings.
Warming up and cooling down
Use this tool as a sports ally in which you can warm up the muscles before training, thus preparing the fibres and fascia for the intensity that lies ahead. The Foam Roller is ideal for strength and endurance sports, where the muscles are constantly put to the test. At the same time, during the body cool down you protect the fibres from cramps and contractures that affect your performance and prevent you from doing the activities you love.
Can using the Foam Roller on a regular basis have any side effects?
The frequency of use of this product is relative, you can use it daily on a single muscle group if you feel that there is relief in the symptoms that you present and the slides are done with little pressure. Any specialist will recommend respecting the time of stimulation with low or high body pressure.
There are few proven contraindications: you should not directly stimulate the joints or any bone structure because this increases the risk of injury, nor should you use the roller immediately after a moderate or chronic physical injury.
If you have circulatory problems, you should seek specialist advice before using this product. Only if you comply with these basic recommendations will you be able to use this product correctly.
What are the best alternatives to the foam roller for pain relief and self-massage?
Check out this list of the best alternative tools available to perform myofascial massages safely and effectively, complementary products to the foam roller that can give you good results in your training and muscle recovery routines.