In between massage therapy treatments, I always offer clients some self-massage tips/techniques that they can do at home to help reduce tight muscles. There are many tools on the market that can help you roll out like a pro at home. Three tools I have in my arsenal that I love to use are a foam roller, yoga tune up balls and a massage bar.
Self-massage can be great for specific myo-fascial release of trigger points or to work with your current stretching program. Rolling out helps increase circulation, restore length and balance to your fascia and muscles to improve your range of motion. Great for recovery days, it can also be used as a warm-up or cool-down to any physical activity.
I love using the Foam Roller for larger areas, like the IT band, thoracic spine, calves and lats. The Massage Bar or Stick is great over sensitive areas, like your quads and adductors, where you can more easily control the pressure. For those that like a little DIY, I’ve seen some runners use an old school rolling pin!
My SECRET WEAPON is the Yoga Tune Up Ball. This little dynamo is fantastic for releasing tension from your feet (hello runners!) and hard to reach areas like your hip rotators and glutes! You can roll on it while on a yoga mat, or standing against the wall. It’s small and easy to travel with. Roll the ball between your shoulder blades for a great release after a long day on the computer!
Using your body weight roll slowly over those areas and feel for any tight spots. You can press your body weight into those areas or roll over them a few times for a nice release.
- Be patient and relaxed and practice some quality breathing when rolling, do not hold your breath!
- You should not feel any sharp pain, but instead a deep pressure that relaxes as your tissue releases.
- Explore each area that you are rolling, paying attention to restrictions in your tissue.
- Speed determines intensity. The more slowly you roll, the more intense the sensation.
For those totally new to foam rolling, check out this great video series giving you the basic movements to get yourself started. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask or book an appointment to see one of the registered massage therapists at Rebalance Sports Medicine in Toronto.