Foam Rolling Versus Therapeutic massage For Efficiency and Restoration

Foam rolling is commonly in comparison with a poor man’s therapeutic massage. Whereas foam rolling is decidedly extra DIY than therapeutic massage, each modalities have an identical objective: To make use of stress on muscle tissue to make them really feel higher. Each use lengthy, gliding motions over the muscle and speak to in opposition to your pores and skin to attain their objective. Each can enhance your flexibility and assist with restoration. Nevertheless, they’re not comparable when it comes to how they need to be used and what they’ll do on your physique.

Foam rollers are cylindrical items of compressed foam that are available in numerous lengths, shapes and densities. Should you’re new to foam rolling it is best to begin with a softer curler. It may be pretty uncomfortable to roll your muscle tissue, significantly in the event you’re sore or tight in a single space. A foam curler doesn’t work with you, you need to work across the foam curler. It lies on the bottom and you need to contort your physique round it, making an attempt to determine find out how to apply the correct amount of stress in order that it doesn’t really feel downright painful.

Therapeutic massage additionally is available in totally different varieties. Some methods are extra targeted on rest, whereas others use heavy stress and stress factors. Therapeutic massage is far more efficient at stepping into the muscle. A therapeutic massage therapist can use their arms, knuckles, elbows and even ft to get into your muscle in methods a foam curler can not.


James Sinodinos, DPT, a licensed power and conditioning specialist, recommends foam rolling earlier than exercises for his sufferers. “The froth curler prepares your muscle tissue for the exercise” says Sinodinos.

From a sensible standpoint, foam rollers are extra user-friendly earlier than a exercise for 2 causes. The primary is you may take your foam curler to the fitness center and use it instantly earlier than you exercise. A 2018 examine revealed within the Worldwide Journal of Sports activities Bodily Remedy exhibits foam rolling earlier than a exercise can improve your flexibility with out hurting your efficiency. The truth is, foam rolling can improve your flexibility as a lot as stretching.

The act of froth rolling forces you to maneuver and heat your physique up. It’s even been in comparison with the plank when it comes to bodily exertion. Because you’re working to maneuver across the foam curler, your physique temperature will increase, which can clarify the beneficial properties in flexibility.

One other benefit the froth curler has over therapeutic massage earlier than a exercise is it’s stimulating. This turns out to be useful earlier than a exercise since you need to be energized and targeted, not relaxed and torpid.

After your exercise, nonetheless, it’s higher to calm down and let the restoration course of start. Your sympathetic nervous system is lively throughout train because it stimulates your coronary heart to beat sooner, wakes up your metabolism to energy your muscle tissue and makes you extra targeted. After a exercise, it’s time to activate the parasympathetic nervous system so you may calm down, recuperate and digest meals. Therapeutic massage is a lot better than foam rolling at selling rest.


When treating sufferers, Sinodinos makes use of each therapeutic massage and foam rolling. One of many advantages of therapeutic massage is he can pinpoint muscle tissue he needs to work on, relatively than passing over a big space of muscle with the froth curler.

Should you’re injured or in ache, therapeutic massage remedy might be higher than foam rolling. Therapeutic massage decreases ache, in response to a 2016 examine revealed in Ache Medication. Foam rollers can’t precisely goal particular areas of the physique, and so they can’t work round your accidents. Should you can’t get into place to foam roll then it gained’t work.

For rehabilitation and remedy, therapeutic massage has a lacking factor the froth curler doesn’t: human contact. “There’s completely one thing to be stated about human contact and getting my arms on the tissue” notes Sinodinos.

A 2017 examine revealed in Scientific Reviews investigated the social results of human contact. Whereas light touching acts as a temper booster, the researchers discovered the advantages are a lot deeper. Light touching, resembling therapeutic massage, can create emotions of social bonding which helped topics really feel much less lonely. Therapeutic massage has a mixture of psychological and bodily advantages.


While you get a therapeutic massage you’re far more relaxed and your temper improves. You’ll additionally get a greater night time’s relaxation. These advantages go far in enhancing restoration. Rest is vital as a result of it shifts your physique into restoration mode, making it supreme after a exercise.

While you calm down, your parasympathetic nervous system takes over on your sympathetic nervous system. Your parasympathetic nervous system slows your coronary heart charge and respiratory. It returns blood to your organs so you may correctly digest meals. Therapeutic massage helps you come back to this parasympathetic state.

Your psychological well being advantages from therapeutic massage, as does your bodily well being. Whereas therapeutic massage and foam rolling present some related advantages like reducing muscle soreness, the advantages from foam rolling aren’t a lot to put in writing dwelling about. The truth is, a 2019 examine revealed in Frontiers in Physiology calls the results of froth rolling on restoration “relatively minor and partly negligible.”

Therapeutic massage may help you recuperate between exercises by reducing muscle soreness and enhancing blood stream. Not solely is it simpler than foam rolling, it’s simpler than many different restoration strategies. A 2018 examine revealed in Frontiers in Physiology discovered therapeutic massage was higher at decreasing soreness and emotions of fatigue than cryotherapy, lively restoration, compression clothes and distinction water remedy.

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