Foam rolling is a practice that is popular in athletic circles as a way of improving recovery speeds and helping people to relax. Foam rollers offer something known as myofascial release. They massage muscle fibres to help reduce tension, break down scar tissue and promote circulation.
Foam rollers are sold in a number of different grades of hardness. In general, people who have not used them before should stick with relatively soft ones. There are harder ones that are used by people who are competitive athletes that train hard and suffer from a lot of muscle fatigue and tension. Some people find that even harder foam rollers aren’t good for relieving severe tension and knots and that a foam roller with nodules is much better. Even better than one with nodules to reach those ‘hard to reach’ places, are rollers such as the hyperice foam roller review.
These rollers offer the same sort of myofascial release, but with the added benefit of vibration to stimulate circulation and to help to relax the muscles even more. You’ll find that they are ideal for people who suffer from a lot of tension and soreness – endurance athletes, and strongmen, for example.
Foam rollers are safe for most people to use, but you should be aware that if you have an injury you should check with your doctor or physiotherapist before you use them. While foam rollers are ideal for people who want to just ‘loosen up’ after a hard training session the day before, there are some contraindications. People who are suffering from hypertension or osteoporosis, for example, are advised against using foam rollers – and vibrating foam rollers would still fall into that category.
Hypertension is the medical term for high blood pressure. Osteoporosis is a condition which causes the bones to become less dense, and more brittle. The concern with foam rolling is that while you are massaging certain areas it could increase your blood pressure. With osteoporosis, the risk is that you could end up putting so much pressure on delicate joints that it could do damage – think of foam rolling as being like a very rough massage in that respect.
For most people, foam rolling is safe. If you are healthy enough to be an athlete you are likely healthy enough to use a foam roller. Don’t use one as a substitute for a trained physiotherapist, use it as an addition to good treatment.