Roll Away Your Pain

by Lanny Schaffer, Ph.D-4885 - Date: 2007-04-29 - Word Count: 306 Share This!

Don't have the cash for a weekly massage? Let a foam roller be your personal masseuse!

Foam rollers are used for both exercise and massage. During exercise, they promote core strenthening and deep muscle stretching. During massage, the roller applies pressure to the muscle which send a message to the brain regarding any changes in tension, length, or pain. The brain, in turn, signals back telling the muscle to relax, reducing soft tissue tightness.

Rollers come in many lengths and circumferences. A good size for massage is 36-inches-long and 6-inches in diameter. The massage should be done on a hard floor, wearing comfortable form fitting clothes that won't get caught or tangled under the roller. Using a sticky Yoga or Pilates mat will help prevent the roller and your feet from slipping.

Regular roller massage of tight muscles will reduce restrictions in your soft tissues, decrease spasms, decrease the pain of trigger points, improve circulation and increase your range of motion. This new range of motion allows your muscles and joints to function at an optimal length which improves your overall movement performance. There is a reduction in pain and a decrease in the chance of injury. Finally, foam roller massage shares many of the other health benefits of regular massage including increased immune functioning, reduced anxiety and depression.

When using the foam roller remember to listen to your body. Massage each spot you are working on for 1-2 minutes. Only massage your muscle and soft tissue, not your bones or joints. Finally, don't over do it. Applying too much pressure can do more harm than good. Everyone can benefit from massage and the foam roller is designed to work deep into the muscles to provide effective results. When you finish your roller massage, you'll feel like you just had a professional deep tissue massage at your local spa.

Related Tags: massage, pilates, yoga, deep tissue massage, foam roller, deep muscle massage, foam roller massage, personal masseuse

Dr. Lanny Schaffer is an Exercise Physiologist and President of The International Fitness Academy. For more health and fitness issues go to

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