Health Fitness

Foam Roller Introduction: Self-Massage 101

The first time I was exposed to this newly introduced concept of rolling on a piece of foam was during my initial visit to Cornell University. When I first walked into the hockey locker room, I saw Sean Collins, now a member of the Washington Capitals Organization in the National Hockey League, effortlessly rolling on this round, black foam piece.

Subsequently, Ed Kelly, the Cornell University Men’s Ice Hockey athletics coach, informed me that myofascial self-release was a technique used by athletes and therapists to release muscle pain or trigger points. Now, as a result of recent scientific information, new technology, and feasible products, the foam roller has become a critical recovery device for people of all fitness levels.

At first, I was quite skeptical. To be completely honest, I just didn’t see the point. I thought that rolling on a piece of foam was a complete waste of time and would have no influence on my athletic performance. This didn’t stop me from slowly introducing the foam roller into my routine for the next four years, but I never really understood the science behind it. It wasn’t until I really decided to invest in my short-term and long-term health that I noticed the payoff from the foam roller.

“The foam roller softens and lengthens muscles and breaks down adhesions and scar tissue.”
– Joe Hashey, CSCC

Why Foam Roll?

First, we all accumulate tight muscles and trigger points, which are hyperirritable points in the fascia (fibrous tissue) that surrounds skeletal muscle. They can be caused by various factors such as exercise, mobility, flexibility, movement patterns, posture, nutrition, sleep, stress, hydration, and lifestyle routines.

Trigger points keep the muscle tight and weak, restricting range of motion. Additionally, the foam roller can be used to help release trigger points and increase adhesions (knots) in the body. I like to refer to the foam roller as a free massage that I can enjoy anywhere, anytime!

9 benefits of foam roller

(1) Saves you money on massage therapy
(2) Increases flexibility and mobility of muscles.
(3) Increases blood flow to muscles.
(4) Prevents injuries
(5) Helps you recover faster
(6) Eliminate lactic acid to aid recovery.
(7) Helps relieve muscle pain
(8) Releases trigger points, adhesions and knots
(9) Breaks down scar tissue

Quick Tips on Foam Laminate

Before you invest in a foam roller and start enjoying all the benefits, I recommend reading a few quick tips below for information on how to roll properly and safely:
DON’T be too aggressive; Apply reasonable pressure.
A few strokes over each of the major muscle groups should be sufficient.
Bail! Foam rolling can be very painful. Therefore, roll slowly with a moderate amount of pressure (weight) on the foam roller (use your hand and legs for support).
Never roll directly onto a joint or bone.
Focus on relaxing and breathing deeply.

Be very careful when rolling up the neck region. If necessary, consult a medical professional as this area may require specialized care.

On top of that, keep the smiles rolling! Intentional pun.

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