The health benefits of Foam Rolling
Updated: Aug 15
There are many health benefits of foam rolling. Here at Total Health Chiropractic, we are huge supporters of this simple tool. We find that they can easily be incorporated into your exercise routine and are great for promoting and maintaining optimal physical health.
Experience the health benefits of foam rolling
Basically, you use your own body weight and with simple movements, you roll specific muscles and tight areas over a firm foam roller to provide a deep, controllable massage.
These Grid Rollers are the most popular foam rollers we stock and hundreds of our clients are now enjoying the benefits of using them regularly.
Many of our clients find it enormously beneficial to use a roller on their mid and upper backs. Sitting slouched at a computer all day inevitably causes terrible tightness, even rigidity. With this comes pain and we call this the start of ‘Old Man’s Back’ (or Lady’s of course). As people age, they tend to become more flexed. This is extremely unhealthy as you lose flexibility and the ability to breath deeply. If this flexed, ‘hunchback’ posture is becoming you then there is no time to waste – you are losing your health. Start rolling out that back on a daily basis and soon you will be feeling the benefits.
Beware of ‘Old Man’s/Lady’s Back’
When using a foam roller, it is easy to change the amount of pressure that is being applied to the problematic areas. They can be used anywhere and are easy to travel with when on the road. By using them consistently you really can enjoy enormous health gains in a relatively short period of time.
The roller is also useful for performing a variety of exercises. There are a number of core-strengthening and stabilizing postures and movements that they are especially suited for.
The main benefits of foam rolling are as follows:
Improved blood circulation to the skin, muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
Because of the improved blood, there are benefits at the cellular level because of the better exchange of nutrients and waste products.
Stretching of tight muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Some muscles are prone to shortening and are hard to stretch properly (eg hip flexors and the iliotibial band). Using the foam roller, it is relatively easy to apply deep pressure and thus lengthen shortened tissues.
Recovery of full spinal range of motion. By slowly rolling your spine over a foam roller and concentrating more on restricted or rigid, painful areas you gradually increase the movement of the spinal segments whilst stretching the surrounding tissues
Different Types of Foam Rollers
Whilst some foam rollers are soft, others are much harder. When starting out sometimes people prefer to use a softer one as it can be quite painful until your body gets used to it. Even wrapping the roller in a towel can soften the amount of pressure you feel. However, generally, you can control the amount of pressure that is used in any given area by controlling your movement.
Thoracic Foam Rolling Protocol
Begin by lying on the foam roller, perpendicular to the body. (It does not matter which part of the back you lie down on as rolling will be the first exercise)
Begin rolling by lifting the hips slightly off the ground and sliding downwards onto your upper back, this is the starting position.
Next, perform 5-10 rolls from the upper back to the mid-back slowly. Avoiding the lower back. You should feel the muscle relaxing into the foam. Keep breathing.
Next, the neck extension, it should be done once the rolling is pain-free. Roll till the foam pushes below your shoulder blades. Rest the hips on the ground and extend over the foam while holding onto the back of your head. The main aim of the extension is to open up the upper and mid-back, not a neck extension.
The first extension should be held for roughly 1-2 minutes, and subsequently up to 10 minutes.
Lastly, repeat the rolling exercise another 5-10 times and you are done. As always, if you experience pain, stop, and mention it to anyone of us at the office.