Wanna give yourself a massage?

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So it’s January, and if you’re like 90% of the population, you have probably decided to get off your arse and start (or increase) your exercise.

And that probably also means – aches, pains, sore muscles and stiffness. Hooray!

Often, one of the solutions is the dreaded Sports Massage – while very effective, it can often feel like you have paid some hedonistic torture-lover to beat you up and ram their knuckles into your already-painful muscles as you imagine them gleefully smiling through the whole process*

(*sports massage therapists are actually lovely people, and nearly all of those I know take no pleasure in inflicting pain…)

So if you have neither the inclination nor the funds this January to get beaten up get a sports massage, then using a technique called “rolling” might be a useful option.

I’ll briefly explain the science behind what is called “myofascial release” and you can take a look at the video to see how you perform self-massage (no snickering down the back now) to relieve some of those aches and pains, and give your muscles some well-deserved TLC.

What is myofascial release?

Myofascial release is a manipulative treatment that attempts to release tension in the fascia due to trauma, posture, or inflammation. Connective tissues called fascia surround the muscles, bones, nerves, and organs of the body. Points of restriction in the fascia can place a great deal of pressure on nerves and muscles causing pain.

What types of self-myofascial release are out there?

Self-myofascial release is a form of self-manual therapy, most commonly performed with a foam roller or a ball. Both involve lying on the ground, with the foam roller or ball placed between the body and the ground. The foam roller or ball is pressed into the muscle group being treated, and then the body is moved back and forth over it, using an even tempo. Self-myofascial release can be used immediately before exercise to increase flexibility, particularly as there seems to be no adverse effect on athletic performance. Regular use may also improve flexibility long-term. It can also be used in the short-term after exercise to reduce the sensation of muscle soreness.

Why perform self-myofascial release?

By performing Self-Myofascial Release techniques, you can improve flexibility, function, performance, and reduce injuries. In a nutshell, you use your own body weight to roll on the ball (or foam roller), massaging away restrictions to normal soft-tissue extensibility. And you can perform this program at home, helping to maximise recovery time after exercise and reduce muscle soreness.

So there you have it – no reason not to run out right now and pick yourself up a massage ball or foam roller and get straight too it!

Take a look at the video for my top pointers and how to get the best from a rolling session.

Enjoy!

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