This week’s article is based on a massage method that most people are not aware of and which can be used by almost everyone at any time. Before I reveal this great technique I will discuss some benefits of massage.
Massage Therapy is one of the oldest therapies used in human societies. Just as many other thousand year old therapies like acupuncture, exercise and hydrotherapy, massage has persevered the test of time. So what’s so special about it?
Massage Therapy has many different divisions. Each part focuses on different ailments that a person may have. Many techniques are combined to give a wider range of therapeutic benefits. There are over thirty types of massages that focus on what the patient may need.
So what does massage do?
Massage Therapy works on increasing blood flow to the area, decreasing swelling, breaking up adhesions and scarring in the tissue. It promotes lymphatic flow, secretion of feel good healthy hormones, increases relaxation and aids in healing. In addition, Massage Therapy enhances bodily function, decreases pain, improves posture, increases range of motion and length of the tissue, decreases muscle tension and relieves muscle trigger points, as well as increasing or decreasing muscle activation based on the massage. We’re not done yet! Massage Therapy stimulates acupressure points to aid in body healing, mobilizes tissue, increases a person’s energy levels and decreases stress and anxiety. This is just to name a few.
Massage can be used on tissues ranging from muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments, lymphatic tissue, skin, nerves, joints and even organs. There are countless techniques used to stimulate the benefits of massage to any of these body areas based on the person’s condition.
Many people are aware of some of the benefits and have had experience receiving it. Some people even practice massage on others without actually knowing much technique or the theory behind it, ie. My girlfriend massaging my achy back. I think that this is okay to do. Massage, even though it sounds super complex, is relatively safe to do without much training. Of course, if somebody is trained to do massage, such as a competent Registered Massage Therapist (RMT), then you will get much benefit.
Now that you know a bit of what massage may do for you it is time to reveal this great massage technique. It is called Foam Rolling. You may be aware of it, but I find that most of my patients have never heard of it. Basically, it is a 1 to 3 foot foam rode (pictured here) that you lay on and basically roll on. Foam rolling uses deep tissue massage techniques, such as stripping, soft tissue release and trigger point release that mainly decrease muscle tension, decrease scar tissue, stretches muscle and decreases pain. Of all the massage techniques, deep tissue massage therapy is my favorite and most often used in the clinical setting.
Foam rollers come in different densities. The more dense the foam roller the more pressure it provides. They can be short, such as when used to take on travels or long, such as used at home. They can be used on practically any body area when in the right position and you can put more pressure on the body area based on what position you put yourself in. In addition, foam rollers can be used for exercise purposes, but that will be left for another article.
The only downfall is that you have to move and do the work. That takes a bit of the relaxation part out of it. Oh well! Foam rolling takes a bit of learning and mastering so that you can perfect the positions desired to treat certain body areas.
You can use the foam roller everyday, unless it causes additional discomfort, 5 to 10 minutes on the affected area. Enjoy!
Of course, there are contraindications to massage that anyone taking it up should be aware of. Consult with your doctor before or do comprehensive research on such contraindications.
– Simon Bialecki