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  • Writer's pictureFabio Ghiani PT

Benefits of Self-Myofascial Release (SMR) Therapy


In this article, we will delve into the concept of fascia—what it is and how self-care practices can optimise its function, contributing to improved overall body performance. Additionally, we'll explore the benefits of vibration therapy and its positive impact on the body. If you're keen on elevating your recovery, enhancing how you feel, and boosting your performance, this is an article that deserves your attention.


Fascia in therapy refers to a connective tissue that surrounds muscles, organs, and other structures in the body. Therapy involving the fascia, such as myofascial release, aims to release tension and improve flexibility by targeting this tissue through massage or stretching techniques. We can achieve myofascial release through SMR (Self-myofascial release).

This is a technique where individuals use tools like foam rollers, fascia ball (peanut and lacrosse ball) to apply pressure to specific points on their body. The goal is to release tension in the fascia (connective tissue around muscles), improve flexibility, and reduce muscle soreness by performing self-massage.

The pressure applied by a foam roller during SMR is believed to affect the fascia in several ways:

·       Mechanical Stimulation: The pressure from the foam roller creates mechanical stimulation on the fascia. This stimulation may help to break up fascial adhesions or knots, which can develop due to factors like stress, injury, or overuse.

·       Increased Blood Flow: The pressure applied by the foam roller can increase blood flow to the targeted area. Improved blood circulation may facilitate the delivery of nutrients to the tissues and enhance the removal of waste products, contributing to tissue health.

·       Neuromuscular Response: The pressure on the muscles and fascia may stimulate a neuromuscular response. This response can lead to a relaxation of the muscles, reducing muscle tension and promoting greater flexibility.

·       Hydration of Fascial Tissue: Some theories suggest that applying pressure to the fascia may help in the redistribution of water within the tissue. Hydrated fascia is thought to be more pliable and responsive.

Individuals may experience different responses to foam rolling, and it's crucial to use proper technique and avoid excessive pressure to prevent injury. If you have any underlying health conditions or concerns, it's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating foam rolling or any self-myofascial release techniques into your routine.

It is important to work with someone that has been trained and have experience in using these tools such a licensed massage therapist, personal trainer, physical therapist, yoga instructor and fitness instructor, but in a nutshell:

·       Select the Right Foam Roller: Choose a foam roller that suits your needs. Softer rollers are more comfortable for beginners, while firmer ones provide deeper tissue massage.

·       Target Specific Areas: Focus on areas with tightness or discomfort. Common areas include the back, thighs, calves, and shoulders.

·       Apply Moderate Pressure: Start with moderate pressure and adjust as needed. You should feel some discomfort, but it should not be unbearable. Avoid excessive pressure to prevent injury.

·       Roll Slowly: Roll slowly over the targeted muscle group. Spend extra time on areas with knots or tightness.

·       Breathing: Breathe deeply and consistently while rolling. Relaxing your breath can help your muscles release tension.

·       Duration: Aim for 1-2 minutes per muscle group. You can gradually increase the duration as your body becomes accustomed to the pressure.

·       Timing Considerations: As a trainer and remedial massage therapist I will highly recommend SMR on rest days or before exercise. I will suggest more stretching after exercise rather that SMR for more benefits.

·       Before Exercise: Foam rolling before exercise can help warm up muscles, improve flexibility, and enhance performance. Focus on dynamic rolling and avoid prolonged pressure.

·       Rest Days: On rest days, use foam rolling as a form of self-care. It can help release tension accumulated during physical activity.

·       Avoid Acute Injuries: If you have acute injuries, inflammation, or serious muscle strains, consult with a healthcare professional before using a foam roller. In some cases, it's better to wait until the acute phase has passed.

·       Pre-Sleep Routine: Some people find gentle foam rolling to be relaxing and may incorporate it into their pre-sleep routine. However, avoid intense sessions close to bedtime if they are too stimulating.

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