The Benefits of Self-Myofascial Release*

Tuesday, 19 September 2017, By Peter Antoniou

Over the past few years we've seen a growth in the research, use and benefits of myofascial equipment in day to day living and elite level performance. Myofascial is the technical term for the lining of tissue that supports muscles within the human body. The physical therapy release can range between massage, physiotherapy to equipment such a massage balls, rollers and pins in which they can be self-administered or by a professional.


Tissue lining the muscles can often become tight and can hinder mobility which can increase the rate of injury. Self-myofascial release has been shown in many studies to "release" the tight tissue which in turn would increase mobility, range of motion and flexibility to the affected area/s. So why would someone who only exercises once or twice a week need to use a foam roller or rolling pin? Studies have concluded that the use of self-myofascial equipment can increase blood flow to the targeted area, which would allow for better oxygenation of the muscles for a much better warm up pre-exercise. Increased range of motion and blood flow to the area decreases the chance of an injury occurring and recovery time after training. Range of motion is an important part of everyday living and exercise, but we have seen an increase in limited range of motion because of the lack of exercise and movement within Australia. Ideally to foam roll both pre and post exercise can aid in all factors that may hinder performance thus adding a foam roll to tight areas and major muscle groups before a workout as part of a dynamic warm up can have great effects on the workout itself. The use of a foam roller after training has many benefits, including both recovery time and range of motion. After resistance or cardiovascular training muscles can become tender and slightly painful to touch. Foam rolling post exercise with low force has been shown to decrease the amount of scar tissue that lines the muscles and aiding in the recovery time to further progress in exercise or sport.


Have you ever had that feeling after a big workout or long run when your muscles feel fatigued and heavy? That's what's called lactic acid. Lactic acid is the waste product of exercise, and can make most people feel more fatigued than they should. Foam rolling or trigger point release post-exercise can help in the aid to remove the waste product and recovery time. The benefits can only be seen if the self-release is done properly and in an orderly fashion. Starting with slow steady movements from beginning to end of muscle/tendon(s), time ranging between 20-60 seconds with a rest period in between has been proven to increase all aspects of mobility.


Don't be fooled! Foam rolling and all self-myofascial release can have benefits in walks of life especially for the 9-5 desk job worker! People that tend to be seated for most of the day find it hard to stretch the hamstrings and calf muscles. The position in which we all sit can have damaging effects on both range of motion and flexibility of the entire body. Tightness can occur in the chest area from slouching and poor posture as well as tight hamstrings from being in a horizontal position. Not everyone has a physiotherapist to administer a treatment on the go so why not use the next best thing!

*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.

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