Foam rolling originated as one of the early adaptors for myofascial release and increased recovery. One would lie on the foam roller and slowly roll up and down the side of the thigh to release tight IT band tissues from the overuse pattern of running. Soon after this became popular, massage stick rollers came onto the scene providing a more portable way to roll out muscle tension and improve recovery.
If you recently purchased a massage stick roller or are thinking about investing in a massage stick to help in your recovery training, you’re on the right track to keeping muscle tissue healthy. Typically, many people are introduced to the massage stick to help with IT band syndrome. However, a massage stick can be used on many other parts of the body for relief, decrease muscle tension, and improve circulation of the muscle tissue. With improved circulation, you may improve flexibility, experience less discomfort, and improve overall better movement.
Massage stick rollers provide many benefits. Even if you’re are just headed to the office, consider bringing your massage stick roller with you. It can help energize your day with these simple moves:
Roll out tension in your neck. Take the roller just behind your head and angle it towards the front of the body. One hand will be in front of your body slightly in front of the chin and the other will reach around behind your head. Gently roll out the neck muscles just behind the ears and down to the shoulder. Roll the muscles with desired tension down the curve of the shoulder and then back up towards the ears. Continue rolling for 30-60 seconds or until you feel relief. Then, repeat on the other side.
Roll out tension in your forearms. With typing and using smart devices, the muscles in the forearm can develop muscle adhesions and tension. Place the massage stick roller on a desk or solid surface and place the forearm on the roller. Using your other hand, hold the massage stick steady across the surface as you roll your forearm up and down the massage stick. Perform the rolling and hold tension in any tight spots with direct pressure. Then, repeat on the other side.
Roll out tension in your feet. One tool can do many tricks. Try using a massage roller stick to help with foot pain or achy feet. Take off your shoes and with a firm grip on each end of the roller, roll the ball of your foot to just before the heel. This helps to bring more circulation to the longitudinal arch and improve flexibility in the foot. This is a great thing to do after a day wearing high heels, flip-flops, or clogs as they create tension in the calves and heel. Perform this on both feet for 2-3 minutes.
Increase circulation to your head. It feels so good when someone gives you a head massage, but a massage stick roller can do the job as well. Grip the massage stick and gently roll all angles of the head. Stimulating blood flow to the brain can help reduce stress. Be sure to incorporate breathing to slow down the heart rate and lower blood pressure as well.