I have extolled the benefits of foam rolling to my clients for years, trying to convince you all that it is worth your time to torment yourselves with that insidious cylinder of styrofoam. Bottom line, though, foam rollers offer many of the same benefits as a sports massage, without the big price tag (although I think my prices are quite reasonable for the services provided!). The foam roller not only stretches muscles and tendons but it also breaks down soft tissue adhesions and scar tissue. By using your own body weight on the foam roller you can perform a self-massage through myofascial release, breaking up trigger points, and soothing tight fascia while increasing blood flow and circulation to the soft tissues.
For reasons including disuse, insufficient stretching, or injuries, the fascia and the underlying muscle tissue can become stuck together. This is called an adhesion and it results in restricted muscle movement. It also causes pain, soreness and reduced flexibility or range of motion. Myofascial release has also been shown to relieve various muscle and joint pains such as IT band syndrome and shin splints as well as improving flexibility and range of motion and with a bit of experimentation you can target just about any muscle group.
While a trained massage therapist (like myself) can get to deeper layers of tissue and have a more precise targeting of affected tissue, regular body maintenance with the foamroller is a smart move for active people. 2 to 4 times a week, after cardio or resistance training is my recommendation, so get to it!