Benefits of Foam Roller
If you’ve ever wondered about why the Foam Roller is becoming soooo popular, well its all of the Benefits of course! A Foam Roller is a cheap and simple solution that many people can use. From seasoned Athletes, AKA Gym Rats, to the office worker. Our bodies get fatigued, whether that is from lifting weights or simply sitting at your desk for an extended period. The Foam Roller to the rescue, let’s Learn about the Benefits of Foam Roller and Why YOU should be Rolling IT out!
I first came known to the foam roller a few years ago when I started working out with my friend, Reena. She is a competitive runner and is always training for the next race. She easily does 10- 15 miles and with a pace of under 8 minutes, she’s pretty good. Anyways, I started to train with her and she was always using the Foam Roller! She used it before working out but mainly it was when she was sore after a long run.
I was skeptical at first, it didn’t look like she was doing much. I mean she was rolling around on the ground! But I gave it a go, and was shocked that although it seems insignificant it was AMAZING! It felt so good to literally roll out the soreness!
I found a few science articles and did my best to compile and simplify the results. Below is a list comprised of a few of the Benefits of Foam Roller.
Ease Muscle Soreness
A Foam Roller is an inexpensive tool to help give yourself a deep tissue massage. By slowly rolling over different muscles, you’ll help to break up adhesions and possibly scar tissue to help your body heal and recover faster. The main goal when using a Foam Roller is to allow your own body weight to relax over the roller.
Using a Foam Roller, is a form of self myofascial release, a self massage. Typically it’s used either before exercising to loosen up sore muscles and tight joints, or after a workout, in an effort to aid in muscle recovery. If you put in a killer workout and are feeling sore or tight, the Foam Roller can help!
According to one study in, The Journal of Athletic Training, Foam Rolling can alleviate delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) that comes with muscle fatigue and soreness. The article studies the effects of foam rolling as a recovery tool. The participants in the study were subjected to an intense exercise protocol and then used the foam roller after for 15 minutes.
The study found that after a hard workout that “foam rolling substantially reduced the negative effect of DOMS on dynamic movements, which incorporate power, strength, and endurance.” Foam rolling is thought to alleviate muscle fatigue and soreness (ie, delayed-onset muscle soreness [DOMS]) and improve muscular performance.”
Other studies that have been conducted have found that using the Foam Roller for just 30- 90 seconds can be beneficial.
Using the Foam Roller has been shown to increase flexibility and range of motion, ROM. According to the article written in one recent study my, The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, found that using the Foam Roller can increase range of motion, or ROM. They found that using the Foam Roller for just 2 minutes was significantly effective in increasing ROM. This article focused on the knee joint ROM and quadriceps ROM.
Using a Foam Roller for just 2 minutes can be beneficial to you and your body. There are dozens of articles focusing on specific muscles or muscle groups. For example, another study conducted found in the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, is focused on Ankle ROM in adolescents. This study compared just Foam Rolling, just Static Stretching and doing both. The study found that the adolescents had better results with the combination of both Static Stretching and Foam Rolling.
Mood Stress Reduction
I first learned of “somato emotional release”, SER, in an article in Women’s Health Magazine in 2016. It was a small article, under Mind Discuss, talking about how using a Foam Roller can improve your mood. I was curious as to what “somato emotional release” was and did some further research. (I may write a blog just going over SER because it’s really interesting.)
Brief History First:There were some pioneers that lead to discovering SER. Wilhelm Reich, an Austrian psychoanalyst who linked tension in the body with emotional stress. Ida Rolf, who created Rolfing and was a pioneer and leader in soft tissue manipulation and movement education. Osteopath Robert Ward, one of Rolf’s students, created the term “myofascial release” in the 1960s. In the 1970s a clinical study my Ostepathic Physician John E. Upledger and biophysicist Zvi Karni, led to discovery that the body can retain emotional stress due to physical trauma. These emotional deposits often stay in the body, creating areas called “energy cysts.” Upledger also developed the Cranio Sacral Therapy, which is a hand on approach with gentle touch to release tension in the body and improve overall the functioning of the central nervous system.
Myofascial Release Approach®
John F. Barnes, a Physical Therapist, developed the Myofascial Release Approach®. The Myofascial Release Approach® is a hands on approach to restore motion and eliminate pain within the Myofascial connective tissue. John F. Barnes began teaching his Myofascial Release Approach® in the 1980s and has educated over 100,000 doctors.
That is a brief history of SER, but the basic idea is when an accident or injury occurs, that energy enters the body. The 1st Law of Thermodynamics, says that energy can not be created or destroyed. Sometimes your body can absorb or adapt to the “energy cyst” but if not will remain and overtime body may become more stressed and develop into more of a problem.
Foam rollers and other tools uses to engage in SMR may not be exactly the same as the trained therapist it still can evoke emotional responses when participants use these tools. There have been patients that have experienced all sorts of emotions, including laughter, sadness or sudden joy. Some experts claim that your muscles could hold on the negative energy and that each person could experience something different. It just depends on what your body has been though and what your subconscious associates the pain with.
Just don’t expect all of your rolling efforts to solve all your psychological problems, it can lead to an increase in your mood. However, it is not enough to solve any serious psychological or depression, one should seek more formal counseling if needed.
The best part of any massage is the feeling afterwards! Whenever we get a massage of any kinds, our bodies circulation improves. Basically when we get massaged our blood is being moved through the congested areas. The release of this same pressure causes new blood to flow in. This movement, also flushes lactic acid from the muscles and improves the circulation of the lymphatic fluid which carries metabolic waste away from muscles and internal organs, resulting in lower blood pressure and improved body function.
In a recent Japanese study, found in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning, they found that using a Foam Roller “reduces arterial stiffness and improves vascular endothelial function. We believe that SMR using a foam roller can promote the cardiovascular health of the general population.”
Using the Foam Roller on any Muscle Group can provide quick results. In the study, the participants were not athletes but instead people who hadn’t really worked out in a year. They used a Foam Roller for 1 minute on different muscle groups and saw results of improved circulation!
There are many benefits of using a Foam Roller. My favorite part about using a Foam Roller is you can reap the benefits within a minute of using it! Foam Rollers are relatively inexpensive check out a few of our favorite foam rollers here
Please feel free to comment if you have or know of any other benefits or if you have experienced SER! Thanks!