Foam Rolling 101

by Bethany Kelsey | July 14, 2020, 09:47 AM

Your body is the vessel that carries your mind and your spirit.  When you take care of your body, your mind and spirit are given space to be well and to thrive.  One way to care for your body is a practice called foam rolling or self-myofascial release (SMR).  

SMR is an amazing technique that not only helps the body recover physically, but it also positively impacts mental and emotional health.  SMR is linked to experiencing decreased depression and anxiety symptoms.  Scientists continue investigation of the exact mechanisms working to produce positive mental health benefits, but some hypotheses include a relaxation of fascia tissue, an improvement in “happy hormone” levels, a release of traumatic memories held in the soft tissue, and a stimulation of the parasympathetic (rest and digest) nervous system.

SMR, like any self-care practice, is unique to the individual.  While there are general technique principles that apply to all, what body parts you choose to address are completely up to you and your current health needs.  

Basic Principles

Equipment.  Choose the foam roller (SMR tool) right for you.  There are a myriad of products available.  If you are new to SMR, choose a foam roller that is less dense, typically white in color.  If you are a more advanced student of foam rolling, choose a dense roller, typically black in color, or a more specific product such as a one with ridges.

Bottom up.  Begin SMR at your calves and move systemically up your body - calves, hamstrings, quads, gluteals, mid-back.

Breathe.  Breathe throughout the SMR process.  Resist the urge to hold your breath.  Instead, imagine “sending your breath to” or “breathing into” the muscle(s) you are currently rolling.  (Jordan has written extensively on the benefits of breath and created wonderful breathing practices!)

Hydrate.  After you roll, treat your body with a fresh glass of water.  SMR can release waste products into your bloodstream.  Hydrating simply helps your body clear out the waste.

With those principles in mind, are you ready to try SMR?  I share with you the instructional wisdom and expertise from the professionals at TriggerPoint.  Enjoy and have fun!

Deep Breathing & Stress Release    Calf Release    Hamstrings

Quadriceps    Gluteal Musculature     Thoracic Spine

Until we meet again,

Bethany and Jordan

kids playing ball

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