Foam Rolling for Myofascial Relief

Inexpensive Self-Care that Relieves Pain


by Becky Thompson, LMT, RYT

The body has many reasons for presenting with aches and pains. Legs can get achy after walking or running. Hips and back can hurt after too much sitting or standing. Arms or shoulders may feel restricted when reaching high. What is the cause of these aches and pains? One of the main reasons is due to myofascial restrictions and adhesions. These might feel like knots, ropey bands or achy inflamed trigger points around the body. They are caused by the fascia of the body being stuck and hardened into place—and they hurt.

The fascia is a specialized connective tissue layer surrounding muscles, bones and joints that gives support and protection to the body. Fascia is a dense connective tissue in the human body and it extends from head to toes. One of the main structural components of fascia is collagen and it's called upon heavily in our everyday movement or to help protect the body when we put heavy stress on it, but the fascia can only take so much repetitive motion, daily stress and use. Due to chronic wear and tear, there are many places that fascia can be adhered to muscle, skin and bone in the body, which results in pain and lack of range of motion.

Myofascial foam rolling is a method that can be learned and then used at home to help reduce chronic pain from fascia adhesion. The foam roller is also an inexpensive and portable tool that is fairly simple to use to roll, lengthen and break up a tight and restricted body.

There are many reasons to begin a foam roller practice. Here’s an example of the benefits this self-care routine can provide.

Break Up Scar Tissue

Breaking up scar tissue and adhesions of the skin, muscles and bones is part of caring for the body. Foam rolling puts specific pressure on fascia, which stimulates receptors in the nervous system and begins to release the trigger points where pain and tenderness are most acute. The pressure of the foam roller starts to soften the fibers of the fascia, breaking up scar tissue and begins to restore the nature structure of the fibers.

Improve Range of Motion

Foam rolling not only releases fascia, it also releases tension in the muscles. By combining a release of adhesions and lengthened and loosened muscles, the result is a greater range of motion for the joints. This has a positive benefit on everyday activities in addition to fitness activities.

Better Circulation

The compression of self-myofascial release can help circulation by stimulating the internal tissue of the body. It can help clear the pathways of restricted sticky fascia and improve oxygen delivery to the tissues. This improved circulation helps to restore blood flow and blood flow helps restore healthy tissue.

Time Well Spent

A foam roller for myofascial rolling is an inexpensive piece of equipment that is easy for most people to use and portable. It doesn't take a whole lot of time to begin to feel the benefits and relief from inflammation and restrictions that myofascial adhesions can cause.

The body naturally wants to be healthy and strong, but sometimes an extra boost is needed to achieve optimal wellbeing and tissue health.

Becky Thompson is a licensed massage therapist, Thai massage practitioner and registered yoga teacher at Yoga Center of Collinsville at 10 Front Street in Collinsville and will be offering a workshop to teach foam-rolling techniques for myofascial release on May 21 at 2 p.m. To learn more, practice foam rolling or schedule a massage, visit or call 860-693-9642.


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