We’ll often suggest that you use a foam roller as part of your sports massage aftercare. This is because using a foam roller can make the effects of your massage last longer. It can also delay the build-up of tension between massage treatments, especially if you’re training hard or have a lifestyle which can be counter-productive to good posture e.g., sitting at a desk all day. 

A comparison of foam rolling and sports massage 

While sports massage generally has more benefits and is more effective in the long term than using the foam roller, there are benefits to both. Here’s how they compare: 

The benefits of foam rolling 

When done correctly, foam rolling: 
Prevents injury. 
Speeds up recovery. 
Improves mobility and flexibility. 
Removes lactic acid (which aids recovery). 
Relieves pain after exercise. 

The benefits of sports massage 

We talk a lot about the benefits of sports massage (as you’d expect!) so here’s a summary of the main benefits: 
Prevents injury. 
Speeds up recovery. 
Removes lactic acid (which aids recovery). 
Relieves pain (after exercise). 
Breaks down scar tissue. 
Increases blood circulation. 
Loosens tight muscles. 
Reduces stress. 
Reduces swelling. 
As you can see, massage is fantastic if you can get one. You’ll have also noticed that there are several similarities between the two which means using a foam roller as a part of your overall health routine can be helpful. 
One of the big differences is the time you would need to spend on foam rolling to get the same results as a sports massage – it’d take a while and it can be pretty awkward to get to the right spots! It also takes a lot more effort to foam roll yourself than it does to have someone massage you instead. 

Is foam rolling painful? 

The answer to this depends on what you class as pain vs. discomfort. We tend to find that people have a love/hate relationship with their foam roller. As you use your body weight with the foam roller, although it can hurt, you can control it (a bit, anyway). 
You don't need to spend a lot of time using the foam roller. It’s more important to focus on using it correctly and regularly so 5-10 minutes a day is enough. Doing it correctly is very important as, if you don’t, you can risk irritating or worsening your injuries. Do ask your therapist for advice. 

Is foam rolling still worth it? 

We think that a foam roller is still a useful piece of equipment to use regularly, especially when combined with stretching exercises. 
Certain areas of the body benefit from using a foam roller while others would benefit more from stretching exercises. We’ll be able to guide you in this and can provide recommendations on what to do between sessions and how to do it correctly for maximum benefit. 
If you want to find out how best to use foam rolling for your body, you can easily book an appointment online and we’ll get you sorted! 
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