Are you sore, stiff, or tight? We understand what you are feeling and many times will recommend foam rolling to ease muscular soreness, reduce muscular tension and eliminate myofascial tightness. You may be saying, “I’ve tried foam rolling in the past and didn’t find a lot of benefit or it was very painful.” Again, I understand. I’ve observed how clients have been taught to foam roll and most are only addressing the superficial fascia which can yield short-term results. When I started my career in the healthcare field back in 1997 this is exactly how I taught my clients to foam roll, but over time I’ve found a more effective way. At Natural Balance Therapy (NBT) we teach our clients how to address the deeper fascial layers and incorporate more of a myofascial approach to their foam rolling. When clients combine these new principles along with their other myofascial self-care techniques they start seeing long-term results.
Foam rolling is a simple, self-manual therapy technique that has been a staple amongst athletes, but can be very effective for our weekend warriors and general population. We’ve found it to be beneficial in the following areas:
* Eliminating myofascial and muscular tightness in the legs (calves and thighs)
* Reducing pelvic tightness, including glutes.
* Reducing restriction from scar tissue in the lower abdomen
* Eliminating myofascial and muscular tightness along the back
* Opening up the chest helping to decrease neck tension
* Improving posture and the impact that prolonged sitting can have on the body
How is NBTs approach to foam rolling different?
* Find the restriction, sink, and mash. Traditional foam rolling will roll back and forth over the tight and sore areas usually relatively quickly. Our approach allows you to slowly roll until you find a restricted area and then we will have you sink into the restriction while adding in range of motion to glide the tissue. We may also add “mashing” which is a cross fiber technique to break up adhesions.
* Time, time, time. Just like your myofascial release treatments we will treat in the same area for a longer duration allowing your tissue to release through many layers of restriction.
* Treat the cause. We will help you understand the areas in your body that are contributing to your symptoms. Remember, where the symptoms are doesn’t mean that is where the cause is coming from. When people foam roll with traditional principles it can be very painful because they are treating the most symptomatic areas not necessarily the cause.
Are you ready to start rolling? First, you need access to a foam roller. They are a relatively inexpensive tool to have in your home or your gym may have them. They come in a variety of sizes, firmnesses, and shapes. Longer foam rollers provide more support and are useful when opening up the chest, rolling out the back and both thighs. Shorter rollers are convenient when you don’t have as much space or want to roll in smaller areas of the body (one thigh instead of both). If you are new to foam rolling it may be beneficial to start with a softer roller so it can provide a softer massage instead of a higher density version. You can now find hollow-cored foam rollers on the market. They have a grid-like design that is supposed to mimic the parts of the hand including the fingertips, palms and entire finger, which they feel helps to target tough-to-relieve knots or trigger points.
Second, let us teach you the techniques that would be most beneficial for your current health situation. You can talk to your therapist and they can make recommendations or we will be teaching a Foam Rolling class on January 20th at 5:30 PM. You will learn general techniques to free up tight calves, thighs, hips, back and neck. Click here to find out more information.
Foam rolling can be a very effective self-care tool, but should feel GOOD. Let us help you learn a more effective way to roll out those tight and sore areas.