Lets Get Rolling: The Art of Self Massage Techniques

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Its time to get out your rolling pin! Its not for making apple pie ~  have you tried it for massaging your thighs?

As a Physical Therapist and Massage Therapist, I integrate some form of soft tissue release into most sessions with my patients. However, I consistently find that without weekly loosening, my patients continue to have myofascial tension that builds up from repetative movement or sedentary patterns of life. Stretching can help, yet lengthening a muscle is primarily two dimensional and that may not be enough. Also, some people who are flexible are still “tight” with trigger points within the muscles or have tendonitis from muscle adhesions. So this is why I love teaching patients some form of Self Body Massage that will help them to loosen their muscles and the related connective tissue, bring in blood flow, and generally make their tissues more pliable. Forms of rolling provide a three dimensional stretch to the tissues and allow for greater body awareness. Many people think of PTs are torture agents, and if you start on a foam roller (for your IT bands) and you are really tight and tender, that may feel like that is the case. However, there are many ways to Get Rolling more gently so you can breathe while you work and not add to the strain. I recommend softer balls for myofascial release, medium size balls like in the style of Yamuna body rolling, tennis balls (best in a sock), rolling pins which are easeful to do for people that can’t easefully get on/off the floor, massage canes, and the classic foam roller. These are great for balancing the body, opening the chest and hips, releasing stress and giving patients tools so they can work on tight areas to release pain and prevent it. Its awesome for people to know they can take care of a tension or adhesion issue before it gets bad. When patients do this work as part of their home program, it also makes my work easier so when they return for therapy we can focus on alignment and more specific soft tissue and joint work vs starting from scratch.
If you are interested in learning about what rolling tool is best for you and how to get started on a full routine, join me for a session. Remember to start with just a few minutes a day and keep breathing.

Holly Hamilton DPT LMT
Healing Pathway Physical Therapy