Why Foam Rolling Beats a Professional Massage

There's nothing like a great massage from a professional, right? WRONG!

Sure, letting someone else rub you the right way is relaxing. And there is no denying the benefit of human touch. So if you are never touched by another human, I'd recommend shelling out the big bucks for a professional massage. But if you receive loving human contact on a daily basis, you might want to consider using a foam roller and exploring the valuable practice of self-massage.

You've probably seen foam rollers. You can order one on Amazon, pick one up at a sporting goods store, or even find one in the aisles of a discount store.

The cheapest rollers cost around $5, are made of styrofoam, and don't last very long. If you want an inexpensive foam roller just to try it out, or if you like a super gentle massage, this is a good choice.

There are many middle-of-the-road options, which cost a bit more, but won't break the bank. I like the Triggerpoint brand. Reviewers agree this is the best on the market. Although more expensive, they last for years without breaking down. My husband and I have been using ours forever. Triggerpoint makes a few different versions, some firmer than others.

If you like a deep massage bordering on torture, Rumble Roller is the way to go. You can find a few different rollers under this brand name. They are all VERY firm, and include knobbly bumps and textures which dig into the muscles and fascia. I like the Gator, which is army green and has a slightly bumpy texture. I now use this one for almost all my foam rolling, unless I'm bruised and want something more gentle.

Once you've found your favorite foam roller, you can watch Youtube videos to learn some foam rolling techniques. Or you can take a class. I teach foam rolling once a week, if you're looking for instruction in Howard County, Maryland.

Foam rolling targets not just the muscles, but also the fascia which surrounds the muscles and joints. By putting pressure, using your body weight on top of the foam roller, on various areas of the body, you can release tightness and relieve tension, bring additional blood flow, speed healing, encourage relaxation, and make significant change in parts of the body that are not functioning effectively. Foam rolling can relieve pain, improve athletic performance, realign joints, and increase range of motion.

How is this different and possibly even better than a professional massage?

When you foam roll, you are in charge of your massage. You are the best person to give the exact massage you need because you are the only one who can feel where your body needs extra attention, extra care, extra depth, or extra time. Not only will you give yourself the specific massage you need, you will also receive a great workout in the process. When you foam roll, you strengthen your core, your upper body, and many smaller muscles used to help you balance. It's definitely a case of 2-for-1!

If you'd like some guidance in using your foam roller to achieve specific goals, please don't hesitate to get in touch. I can teach you the foam rolling basics, or help you deepen your practice. Leave me a message in the comment section!