Although it is not a new discovery of the fitness industry or completely new self-massage technique, surprisingly few people know that how easy they could reveal muscle soreness, speed up workout recovery, eliminate painful “knots” in their muscles or even speed up rehabilitation after injuries. The answer is the actually banal foam roller, which as its name induces clearly, it is a foam roll, nothing more. I am a regular gym-goer, nevertheless, I must admit, that I have been ignoring the foam roller for years. But lately, I did get curious about it, seeing so many bodybuilder guys using it. I started to read about it, how actually it should be used and I realized that it is not hard or complicated at all, but has a lot of benefits. I did not have any injury but I often have tight muscles and have to admit that sometimes if I am pressed for time or slightly stressed I don't concentrate enough on my movements and yes, those painful “knots” in my muscles can form. Before I tried with cream, massage but they never brought instant result. Until I discovered the foam roll.
Just today in the morning while doing a shoulder workout I experienced some pain in my left shoulder. After the workout, I again turned to my new best friend, the foam roller. And slowly rolled over with my shoulder. It doesn't take a long time. In less than a minute, I was ready, and must admit now while writing this article I have absolutely no pain anymore. Of course, being weekend and having enough time, I don't stop at painful areas. I do use the foam roller at least once a week to roll on with all my muscles and must say it does wonders.
The foam roller stimulates the mechanoreceptors, those receptors which are placed in the skin and internal organs. They respond to mechanical stimuli, like touch, sound waves, motion, pressure, and stretching. And that is just what our beloved foam roll does. It applies stimuli, that is detected by our mechanoreceptors which actually monitor our muscles, bones, and joints. Applying the right kind of stimuli with slow and controlled rolling over the foam roll will indeed help ease your movement restraining problems. Some physiotherapists claim, that by easing the after workout recovery process, indirectly it even has a performance enhancing effect, which is absolutely good news.
Nevertheless, they warn us not to roll over joints and to restrain our “rolling” on the soft parts, from joint till joint, but not on them. I can quite understand that because having any joint pain is never treated with pressure. You must think of this technique like a deep tissue massage only you do it for yourself...and in that way, you even have two great benefits. One is that, and I strongly believe in this one: we are ourselves the best doctors for all our problems. You know best where it exactly hurts you, what is too much. If you think deep about your body, you will always know what you have to do in order to get rid of any pain. No, not between two meeting, but if you remain alone, silent and calm, you will surely feel what is the right thing to do. In any part of life, and naturally about your body too.
How to use it if it seems painful at the beginning? If the area hurts when you roll over, and the pain is too much, you can ease the surrounding areas first and slowly merge to where the “knot” is. Do not say, you have no idea, if you say that it means you just didn't have the opportunity to listen enough to what your own body has to tell you. Retry.
The foam roll is a very easy tool. But great things are usually achieved with easy tools. We live in such a complicated society that simple object are totally ignored. Don't get fooled. Try and believe, you will see. Never miss an opportunity to connect with your body. Your body likes it, believe me. Your body likes more the 10 dollar foam roll than the 1000 dollar smartphone. So, enjoy the simple things and get great benefit.