This article explains (1) the do's and do not's for foam rolling etiquette (2)How to manage your fascia for best benefits. "You're going to wonder how you ever performed your workouts without it"
The self massage technique deals with the myofacscia otherwise known as the fascia. But what exactly does it do? It wraps around each of your individual internal parts, keeping them separate and allowing them to slide easily with your movements. It creates a sheath around each muscle; because it's stiffer, it resists over-stretching and acts like an anatomical emergency break. It connects your organs to your ribs to your muscles and all your bones to each other. It structures your insides in a feat of engineering, balancing stressors and counter-stressors to create a mobile, flexible and resilient body unit.
Fascia can contract and feel and impact the way you move. It's our richest sense organ, it possess the ability to contract independently of the muscles it surrounds and it responds to stress without your conscious command. It means that fascia is impacting your movements, for better or worse.
In its healthy state it's smooth and supple and slides easily, allowing you to move and stretch to your full length in any direction, always returning back to its normal state. Unfortunately, it's very unlikely that your fascia maintains its optimal flexibility, shape or texture. Lack of activity will cement the once-supple fibers into place. Chronic stress causes the fibers to thicken in an attempt to protect the underlying muscle. Poor posture and lack of flexibility and repetitive movements pull the fascia into ingrained patterns. Adhesions form within the stuck and damaged fibers like snags in a sweater, and once they've formed they're hard to get rid of, but redeemable.
How to Care for Your Fascia In Addition To Rolling
1. Move it: Take a few minutes first thing in the morning to roll around in bed and really stretch out, head to toe, just like a cat after a nap. Adding a couple yoga poses, sun salutation or downward dog would also be helpful
2.Stay hydrated: Fascia is made of water. It works better, moves better and feels better.
3.Stretch your muscles: When your muscles are chronically tight the surrounding fascia tightens along with them. Over time the fascia becomes rigid, compressing the muscles and the nerves.Use 2-3 second holds on given areas.
4.Stretch your fascia: Once your fascia has tightened up, it doesn't want to let up. Hold gently( 30-40 % tension) for 2-3 minutes
5.Relax and replenish: Spend 15 to 20 minutes in a warm Epsom salt bath to loosen tight fascia. Make sure to follow it up with 10 minutes of light activity to maintain circulation.
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