As a Massage Therapist I implement self care into my daily routine. I understand the importance of helping our body’s facilitate the healing process. Each of us are impacted by our activities of daily living in various ways. Our jobs, hobbies, interests, etc. effect us in ways we may not notice.
A method of self-care you may have heard about is Body Rolling. You may have seen people at the gym rolling on cylinders expressing an unpleasant face. Chances are you have seen foam rollers or different sized balls being used on various parts of the body.
But what exactly is happening when we body roll and why are we doing it?
The purpose of body rolling is for decompression, lengthening, and balancing throughout the body. We focus on several muscles and fascia lines within the body. The intention of this practice is to improve body functions and flexibility. Freeing up adhesions will allow the systems of the body to better communicate with one another.
What is “fascia”?
Fascia is a continuous connective tissue structure throughout our entire body. This is what holds our body in the shape it is in. If you removed everything from our human bodies except our fascia, we would still be in the same shape. When one experiences physical or emotional issues, scarring, or inflammation, fascia loses its elasticity. When fascia becomes tight we experience tension and discomfort. Body Rolling assists to unbind what has hardened in our fascial structure.
When we roll our bodies on rollers or balls we are squeezing the tissues and melting the fascia. When the tissues are compressed, water is driven out like a sponge being squeezed. When they are decompressed the water moves back in, still like a sponge. This helps to decongest and change the tissues for the better. The fascia is slowly pulled to release some adhesions present in the body. The fascia does not get longer but it releases and melts allowing for better movement. For more information on the points in this paragraph go to https://www.anatomytrains.com/news/2015/04/27/foam-rolling-and-self-myofascial-release/)
In the past year I took a Body Rolling class taught by Randy Fillion at Irene’s Myomassology Institute. A few key points were taught to me that I believe to be very important. Please take note on these two pieces of guidance.
1. Working to lengthen and release tissues of the body can free pain and stiffness that has been stored for many years. Please work with your own tolerance of finding that comfortably uncomfortable balance of pressure.
2. Remember to breath as you move along the body. It is extremely important to link breath and movement to ensure maximum comfort and connection with what is happening inside your body.
Body Rolling: An Experiential Approach to Complete Muscle Release by Yamuna Zake and Stephanie G is a great book to guide you though specific muscles of the body. If you would like to learn more about Body Rolling and the different routines available, take a look at this book!