Tapping Into the Duality Behind Foam Rollers


By: Vlady Peychoff


Foam rollers have multiple uses ranging from assisting in stretches, physiotherapy and stabilization. It can be difficult to assess whether or not a foam roller is an appropriate tool. Fear and intimidation are two barriers that infringe upon the use of this object. Will I break a bone? Can I put my whole trust in this rolling object? These are a couple questions that crossed my mind the first time I tried using a foam roller. I found that multiple benefits outweighed the concerns.


Here are a couple benefits:


-Relieves mid-back muscle and joint tension. 

Roll 5-10 times between your lower ribcage and shoulder blades.


-Stretches and relieves pectoral muscle tightness. 

Lie on the foam roller with a slight tuck of the chin and outstretch your arms over your head. Hold for about 30 seconds.


-Stretches out and massages the IT Band. 

Roll on the outside of each thigh 5-7 times. It is not about speed- the slower you go the juicier (the ambiguous sugar coating way of saying deeper) the massage will be.


Technology, particularly in some professions and institutions, has constructed an environment for tension.  There is the potential to spend countless hours on a computer or studying where the end result is back pain. Our posture can cave in (pectoral tension) and our backs curl (back tension). Additionally, after any sort of physical exercise our IT Band can stiffen up. For instance, in a yoga class certain postures can irritate the IT Band depending on multiple factors (improper muscle engagement, physical limitations of the body etc). Needless to say, all these instances can be aided with a foam roller.


In brief, foam rollers are not distress tools, but tools to alleviate soreness. Yes, I do agree that foam rollers may not be for everyone due to personal and physical concerns. Although, it never hurts to get a second opinion about a foam roller from a physiotherapist, doctor, chiropractor or massage therapist. My personal experience of using a foam roller has helped me discover unexpected tension points in my back. Try, See, Decide!