PHUKET: The word is out about self myofascial release – foam rolling – and, no, Phuket people, this doesn’t have to do with a ‘soapy’ or ‘happy-ending release’. Foam rolling was once a secretive technique used by professional coaches and therapists, but has become a regular practice for people across the spectrum of fitness levels.
Self myofascial release is in fact just a fancy term for a technique of self-massage that helps deal with muscle tightness and trigger points.
With a massage parlor in Phuket never being farther than a kilometer away, and decent one-hour massage costing you less than 500 baht, it might be difficult to see the point of learning the technique – which would explain the bunch of rarely used foam rollers at Nai Harn Gym.
Nonetheless, the understanding of your body and muscle structures that comes with practicing the technique offers a great deal of benefit.
The practice can be done with a foam roller, lacrosse ball, Theracane or your own hands by simply applying pressure to specific points on your body, aiding in the recovery of muscles and assisting in returning them to normal function. We can think of ‘normal function’ as when your muscles are elastic, healthy and ready to perform at a moment’s notice.
Foam rolling after a workout will provide deep compression that will help relax tight muscles and adhesions (fibrous bands) between muscle layers and their surroundings. The number of benefits is outstanding, in addition to increasing blood flow, which will speed up muscle recovery. Foam rolling can be used for a variety of corrective bodywork.
It can loosen muscles to re-balance posture, re-establish proper movement patterns, enhance performance and help create pain-free movement.
Stretching alone is not always enough when it comes to releasing the tightness, which makes the technique very helpful. Additionally, you are able to feel exactly what is happening and adjust the pressure so that it is uncomfortable, but not unbearable – not always the case when it comes to the toes of your Thai masseuse digging into your back.
Krix Luther is a fully qualified personal trainer with nearly a decade of experience specializing in strength and conditioning. For more information about Krix and his services, visit krixluther.com.
— Krix Luther
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