Let’s take a look at foam rolling – the poor wo/man’s massage.
Of course, these work best in conjunction with actual massage, especially when it comes to highlighting which muscles you need to concentrate on. We would recommend using the foam roller twice a week, and an actual massage every month.
Foam rolling is a technique widely used by athletes and therapists to target the fascia. The fascia is the band of protective tissue fibres which serves to stabilise, enclose and separate the muscles and organs, and includes tendons and ligaments. When the fascia is functioning poorly athletic performance is affected – for instance tension and dehydration of the fascia causes a faster onset of fatigue during physical exertion, and movement control may be affected. In material terms, a foam roller is fairly self-explanatory – a cylindrical section of firm foam – however the specific material used will impact upon product density and firmness.
The foam roller uses resistance from bodyweight to effectively target overactive muscles and tendons in the body. The applied resistance effectively massages the body to release muscular tension and tightness. By using your own body weight to apply pressure where needed, a foam roller allows you to effectively and efficiently target muscle discomfort, adhesions and tension, aiding muscle recovery after exercise. Using sustained pressure to target tension in the muscles and fascia, is referred to as myofascial release. Myofascial release is a massage technique used widely by physiotherapists and massage therapists etc to release muscular tension, ease discomfort and improve general mobility.
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