You may have said out loud at some point “I really need to roll out my ___ (insert muscle here)” or “I need to do a self release”. It has been back and forth in research, about whether the mechanisms through which rolling out muscles or doing self releases works, if at all. The next question we often ask ourselves is “Where and how much should I be doing?”. A recent review (see reference below) has gone into more detail.

We Encourage Clients To Do Self Releases At Home

Here at Barefoot Physio, initially client “homework” involves some sort of muscle release. This involves a small trigger ball, or tennis ball if the area is sensitive, or specific placement on a muscle that we have found to be effective in improving your movement or decreasing neural irritation.

What Happens To Our Body When We Self Release

These types of releases provide immediate stimulus to an area that holds meaning to the body. This is why it helps your movement in our session. Sending a different input from that muscle to the brain changes the current messages. This is processed in the brain, then the output is a decrease in the sensation of tightness or pain. The mechanisms are still 100% unknown, but we know it is impacting the nervous system to elicit change in the muscle.

The below recent review shares our current prescription for self-releases:

  • Using a firm surface (roller, or in our case, trigger ball)
  • Applying a force that is strong but tolerable by the client
  • Holding for a period of 30s to 2 minutes
  • Keeping the roller or ball on a sensitive spot
  • Doing 1-3 repetitions on a muscle
  • Separating repetitions by a 30s break

If you are interested in determining which muscles will be the most effective for you to release, this can be explored within our sessions with you. Testing movements and neural irritation, then narrowing down which tight muscles make the most change.

If you want to read the article for yourself, here is the reference: Dębski, P., Białas, E., & Gnat, R. (2019). The parameters of foam rolling, self-myofascial release treatment: a review of the literature. Biomedical Human Kinetics11(1), 36-46.