By: Adam Swanson, CPT, CES, PES, T.P.I CGFI During the past decade the use of self-induced Myofascial release techniques has become a common flexibility and pain relief technique used in the health and fitness world. Tools like Foam rollers, Balls, Handheld rollers, and Vibration devices have been increasing in popularity and finding their way in to fitness centers around the country. But what exactly is myofascial release? Myofascial release is the primary technique used to release tension or decrease activity of overactive muscle tissues in the body. External pressure stimulates the receptors in your muscle tissue and connective tissues in the body to override the dysfunctional protective mechanisms caused by past injuries and slight tears in your muscles. In other words it helps break up scar tissue around the source of an injury or trigger point, and promotes better blood flow and faster healing. By holding pressure on the tender areas of tissue (trigger points) for a sustained period of time (30-90 seconds) trigger point activity and pain can be eliminated, while promoting more benefits like; -better elasticity of muscle tissue -improved neuromuscular function -increased joint range of motion -better overall muscle contraction -adequate amounts of blood, oxygen, and nutrients to your soft tissues What myofascial release tool is best for me? Different tools can be used for different release techniques. The most commonly used myofascial release tool is the foam roller. The foam roller is an inexpensive tool that can be used for many different muscle groups all over the body. If you are new to myofascial release techniques the foam roller is a great place to start because it will probably be all you can handle. I would recommend a 6 inch diameter high density foam roller that's 36 inches long for starters. Over time one can progress to using different tools like softballs, lacrosse balls, or handheld rollers to get into deeper underlying tissues. How do I use these tools? And how often? Below I have included a link to our Foam Rolling page that will instruct you on proper myofascial release techniques using the foam roller. There is no limit to how much you can do these exercises, I tell my clients ideally every morning and also before and after physical activity. It may be a little painful at first but 10 to 15 minutes of foam rolling every day can prevent you from a lifetime of injuries.