What is Self-Myofascial Release?
By Dr. Kyla Nelson
Self-myofasical release (SMR) is a popular, emerging technique that is being prescribed by health practitioners, as well as fitness professionals. If you have been to the gym recently you have probably seen someone performing self-myofasical release without even knowing it.
Myofascial therapy is a broad term for manual therapy that is applied to fascia and muscles. Gaining more popularity, SMR is a technique that can be performed independently, usually with the assistance of a tool.
Common tools used include:
- Foam roller
- Roller massager
- Lacrosse ball
To perform this technique you choose one of the tools above. Using your bodyweight you gently roll over the muscles requiring release. As an example – for your hamstring muscle you will sit on the ground, placing the foam roller under the hamstring. Using your body weight gently roll from the back of the the knee toward the back of the hip.
Although research is fairly new, some of the potential benefits of SMR include:
- Increased range of motion and flexibility pre and post-exercise
- Enhanced muscle performance recovery
- Alleviating DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) following physical activity
- Improved arterial and vascular function
Beardsley, Chris, and Jakob Škarabot. “Effects of self-myofascial release: A systematic review.” Journal of bodywork and movement therapies 19.4 (2015): 747-758.
Cheatham, Scott W., et al. “The Effects of Self‐Myofascuak Release Using a Foam Roll or Roller Massager on Joint Range of Motion, Muscle Recovery, and Performance: A Systematic Review.” International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy 10.6 (2015): 827.