How Does Foam Rolling Work?

  • Massage Therapy
  • July 10, 2024
  • 3 min read
Pilates instructor helping a woman to use a foa, roller.

The foam rolling technique is becoming increasingly popular amongst those who use massage as a treatment, from physical therapists to athletic trainers. This technique, also known as self-myofascial release, involves using a foam roller, lacrosse ball, Theracane or even your own hands to apply pressure to specific points of your body, assisting in the recovery of  your muscles and allowing them to return normal function.

The technique itself has been around for some time, and yet has risen to prominence only recently. Part of the reason for it’s rising popularity is its effectiveness, with many adherents reporting reduced muscle pain, increased flexibility and greater mobility. So how exactly does foam rolling work?

Foam Rolling Breaks Up Fascial Adhesions

The fascia is connective tissue that’s made of thin sheets of collagen, these thin sheets wrap around muscle fiber, group of fibers, muscle, group of muscles, and each limb. When you muscles are damages, or when you are ill or dehydrated, the fascia can become sticky, adhering to your muscles. When these adhesions are stretched they result in a tearing or burning pain and prevent the proper movement of muscle groups.

The proper use of a foam roller applies enough pressure to break up these fascial adhesions, reducing muscle pain, returning mobility and allowing freedom of movement.

Foam Rolling Removes Trigger Points

The technical definition of a trigger point is “a hyperirritable nodule within a palpably taut band that elicits a twitching response to snapping palpation.” In simple terms this means a lump in your muscles that causes the area around it to become inflamed and painful. Trigger points are through to be formed by metabolic issues within the muscle group, this in turn causes chemical irritation around the trigger point.

Although studies in the area are limited, those that have been done suggest that the constant diffuse pressure of a foam roller is able to disperse the chemical irritants in the area around the trigger point, reducing pain and swelling while increasing mobility.

Foam Rolling Works Through Proprioceptive Stimulation

The use of a foam roller can result in proprioceptive enhancement. This stimulates the mechanoreceptors in your muscles, in addition to a host of other physical sensors in the surrounding area, which causes your brain to reassess its sensory and movement maps for that area. This can result in a change of muscles and fascia tone, encouraging relaxation.

Join One Of The Leading Massage Schools In Las Vegas

At Northwest Career College, we operate one of the best Massage Therapy Schools in Las Vegas and our Massage Therapy Course will teach you the skills you’ll need to apply the benefits of sports massage. The benefits of massage therapy are widely recognized with employment for massage therapists expected to increase by 22% between 2014-2024, with an average massage therapist earning $39,360 a year. Additionally, many massage therapists maintain active, private practices as well increasing both their flexibility and earnings.

Our massage student clinic is open seven days a week, for both your and your clients’ convenience, and we offer day and night classes to accommodate your work and family schedules. Our instructors are experienced professionals who will prepare you to sit for either the NCBTMB (National Certification Board of Therapeutic Massage) or the MBLEX (Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards) exams and we are proud of our 100% board pass rate. Call us at (702) 403-1592 to speak to one of our enrollment specialists today!

Ivy Adams
Massage Therapy Program Chair

Born and raised in Las Vegas, Ivy is a proud graduate of Northwest Career College, class of 1999, and has been a Licensed Massage Therapist ever since. Her eighteen years of experience has taken her through an eclectic array of…Read Full Bio