Wouldn’t it be great if you could get a massage every single day? Imagine how great it would feel to get rid of all your tight knots and sore muscles on a regular basis.
Practically heaven right?
For most of us, it’s fairly unlikely that we could fit this into our busy lives. However, there is a way to get that “ohh, I just got a massage feeling” every single day! And the best part is it doesn’t take a ton of time, it’s inexpensive, and it’s really quite simple.
Self-massage or Self Myofascial Release (SMR) is a way of performing massage techniques completely on your own. There are a variety of tools that you can use (including your own two hands) to work out your knots and tight spots so you can start feeling immediate relief.
How it Works
As we’re rockin’ and rollin’ through daily life, our fascia (our body’s intricate network of connective tissues) gets damaged and even torn.
If these tissues aren’t able to heal correctly, adhesions (or trigger points) are formed. These can be very painful and limit our range of motion – in our workouts or just in daily life.
With SMR, you can roll over these tight spots with a tool like a foam roller or massage ball, allowing the connective tissue to release. Think: big relief!
Your Self-Massage Toolkit
There are so many great tools on the market for SMR these days, however, these are a few of the most commonly used ones you should know about.
My two faves are the foam roller and the massage ball.
This giant cylindrical piece of foam may look unassuming, but it packs a big punch to those gnarled up muscles.
By rolling your tight muscles over the foam, it breaks up adhesions and provides relief for tight IT bands, quads, glutes, calves and upper back to name a few.
Using the foam roller on your muscles is quite similar to using a rolling pin to roll out dough. The dough (your muscles) starts out in a big giant ball, often with bumps and lumps.
We use the rolling pin (foam roller) to smooth out the surface and create healthy tissue — now we’re back to talking about your muscles again!
Massage Therapy Balls
Massage balls are another amazing tool to help you release tight, sore muscles because they allow you to really go deep into the affected area.
There are so many different ones on the market that it can be rather confusing to decide which one is best for you.
You want to choose a ball based on the size of the muscle group you’re working. Smaller areas such as feet and hands can be treated with a golf sized ball. Whereas larger muscle groups may need something the size of a tennis ball or even bigger.
It’s also important to note that grip matters! There’s nothing worse than trying to roll around on a ball that won’t stay in place. A ball made of natural rubber that has a bit of weight to it will stay put so you can get the job done.
Why Self-myofascial Release is Gonna Rock Your World
SMR is NOT just for athletes!
Anyone and everyone can benefit from using these techniques. We all have tight muscles and places where we carry tension based on how we navigate the mechanics of daily life.
Here’s why you’re gonna love it: IT FEELS GOOD!
While it’s true that these types of techniques can create a little tenderness at first, they are entirely worth it.
By applying gentle pressure to a tight area of your body, knots and adhesions will eventually release and relax, ultimately giving you the relief you’ve been seeking.
Healthy connective tissue (fascia) = a happy body!
1. Injury prevention
Since SMR techniques help release the tight spots in our tissue, this allows our body to move better and have fewer restrictions. In a nutshell, it increases our range of motion in our joints. The more range of motion we have in our joints, the less likely we are to get injured.
2. Improve your fitness gains
Not only does this increased range of motion keep us from injury, it also helps us improve in our workouts.
When you’re able to perform an exercise with full range of motion, you recruit more muscle fibers in the targeted area. Long story short, you’ll get more bang for your buck at the gym – or the home gym 😉
3. You’re in charge of your own treatment
The great thing about SMR is that you are in complete control of it all. You can easily control the amount of pressure you’re applying by adjusting your body positioning. It’s also a great way to become more tuned into your own body.
You’ll quickly learn which areas of your body need a little more TLC and which ones can handle a bit more tough love!
You should never have to live in discomfort. Life is too short for that!
Start applying these simple SMR techniques today so you can start feeling your absolute best and more at home in your own body.
Does your body (and fascia) need a little more TLC… on your terms?