One of the newer trends in sports medicine is myofascial release and soft tissue mobilization. But to most people, it is most likely seen in the form of a foam roller or Graston techniques using metal/ plastic scraping tools. At this point, most athletic teams implement dynamic warmups into their practice and game routines prior to static stretching. But is there a benefit to implementing myofascial release into the rehab process and or everyday routine of athletes? According to the research, the answer is yes. Myofascial release and soft tissue mobilization have been proven to be extremely beneficial. Some examples of the benefits of these techniques include restoring muscular function and postural alignment, relief of physical and emotional strain, increased awareness of holding and bracing patterns, promoting relaxation, and promotion of self-healing. There are some contraindications to myofascial release, but to the everyday athlete, there is nothing to typically worry about. In conclusion, the goal of myofascial release is to release fascia restriction. By freeing up fascia that may be impending blood vessels or nerves, myofascial release is also said to enhance the body’s innate restorative powers by improving circulation and nervous system transmission. This low load sustained stretch gradually, over time, allows the myofascial tissue to elongate and relax, thus allowing increased range of motion, flexibility and decreased pain. Therefore, if your athletes have access to a foam roller, lacrosse ball, or anything that could be used as a myofascial release technique let them try it and see the benefits!
Below are some examples that athletes can try at home!
Blog information by: Tom Kemmerle, ATC at Pendleton HS