What is a roller?

If you enter any gym or health clinic these days you will see foam rollers. They look like pool noodles, you know, the things you can use in swimming pools to help you float; long cylindrical pieces of some type of extruded hard-celled foam. They vary in price depending on the quality, size and density.

To roll on not to roll – that is the question.

Most blogs/articles you read on foam rolling are usually slanted towards athletes, whether that is an elite, a dedicated athlete or the occasional weekend warrior.

However, you don’t have to be an athlete to benefit from foam rolling and I would go as far as to say, most people, can benefit from using this simple and relatively cheap (if you think of how expensive time off work or therapy costs) tool. Foam rollers are a small investment to make,  to see a potentially significant decrease in the number of soft tissue injuries and resulting pain.

Why use a roller?

Every body needs a little help with the stresses and strains we put it under. Foam rollers can be used for soft tissue work on most of your body as well as strengthening and stretching exercises. All you need is a little imagination (or videos to help you) and away you go.

Soft tissue work – Foam rollers can be used to work soft tissue (muscles ,tendons, ligaments). There are many names for this kind of work e.g. myofascial therapy, trigger point therapy. However,  this is a deep massage you can do for yourself, everyday if you wish.

Obviously, this is much cheaper than booking a massage but is it as good? Nothing is as good as an experienced therapist working on your body but many patients I see, actually need soft tissue work at least 3 times a week if not everyday (especially those of you recovering from an injury or training for something like the Brighton Marathon). This tool would enable you to do this and then still receive that much-loved and needed massage from your therapist.

Here are videos to give you some ideas but please experiment on other muscles, e.g. calves, quadriceps, hamstrings, lats – the list goes on…

 

Strengthening exercises – Foam rollers are a great way to increase muscle strength.

Here are some core strength exercise videos.

 

Stretching exercises – In our crazy computer driven world, many of us suffer with hypertonic (too tight) pectoral muscles that bring our shoulders forward and rounded (Upper Cross Syndrome). The following video demonstrates a lovely way to open the chest and stretch those over worked muscles with a foam roller.

 

Where can you get one?

Foam-RollersObviously, we carry these in the clinic. Our prices start at £15.00 for a short one (no picture yet sorry).

The light blue roller in the photo is £23.50, which is our basic – but will do the job very nicely thank you – foam roller.

The next is £29.50 which is more dense (and therefore harder) and comes with a CD.

And last but definitely not least, £41.50 for our Rumble Roller; which is a very light, compact roller that works on those tissues like you never thought possible. You will need a piece of leather to bite on while working with this one!

 

In conclusion

If you don’t have a therapist living with you, a foam roller is the second best thing. It can significantly reduce soft tissue pain and injuries while increasing your flexibility and strength. A small investment in yourself – because you’re worth it!

Written by Anne French

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