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The benefits of Self Myofascial Release

At the recent Network 08 On Tour event, exercise physiologist, nutritionist, personal trainer and fitness educator, Paul Taylor, explained the benefits of Self Myofascial Release.

Self Myofascial Release (SMR) is reported to increase neuromuscular efficiency, alleviate the effects of overactive muscles and influence the autonomic nervous system.

Foam rolling is the most commonly used form of SMR. It involves applying external pressure to muscles, stimulating muscular, fascial and connective tissue receptors that will override the mechanism that protects the body from injury. The Golgi Tendon Organ responds to the tension and the Interstitial receptors and Ruffini Endings respond to the external pressure. Maintaining pressure on these overactive muscles (trigger points) helps to relieve inflammation, pain and premature fatigue - all of which may be experienced as a result of thickened and knotted fascia. These fascial trigger points can also cause motion restrictions around the joints, drastically altering the normal neural response to the central nervous system resulting in substantial decreases in physical performance.

If these trigger points are not released, adhesions develop leading to scar tissue. Deliberately blocking the blood flow to the trigger point by the use of external pressure (such as a foam roll) allows the adhesions to be ‘washed away’ when the build up of blood is released (picture a dam being broken) - this is known as Ischemic Compression.

Do you use SMR with yourself or your clients? If so, have you experienced success with the technique? If not, what have been the reasons?

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Posted by: Anonymous | 15-Nov-2008 01:06 PM | 5 out of 5 stars

Before training sessions with clients (as well as my own) I use the foam roller. I have noted that by releasing various trigger points clients have displayed an increase in strength and reduced soreness.

I also have regular MR massages and notice a huge difference in the weight that I am able to lift before fatigue sets in.

A supple muscle is a strong muscle.