There’s No Place like Foam

3 Reasons You Should Try Foam Rolling

rustedtinmanIf you feel like a rusty Tin Man, you don’t need a Wizard or an oil can.  Try foam rolling!

There is an increasing amount of evidence (1, 2) supporting the health benefits of a regular practice of Foam Rolling Self Massage.  Some of the health benefits include:

  • Improving flexibility,
  • Reducing muscle soreness,
  • Improving joint range of motion, and
  • Reducing stress levels

What Does Foam Rolling Actually Do?

Without getting too scientific, Foam Rolling Self Massage hydrates your fascia, which is your body-wide, 3-D, connective tissue system that wraps and connects your muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, nerves and blood vessels.  Foam Rolling Self Massage focuses on the fascial systems in the body that can be negatively impacted by repetitive motion or stillness (such as sitting at a desk), the aging process and day-to-day living.  This is what some refer to is as having “issues in your tissues” – and it may feel like stiffness, pain or achiness – kind of like feeling like the rusty Tin Man.

Foam Rolling Self Massage, like Rolfing and traditional massage, work to resolve many of these issues by applying pressure to specific areas of the body.  In the case of foam rolling, you use a roller and your own body weight.  The ultimate goal is restore your body back to its natural state.

While there are many reasons you should incorporate Foam Rolling Self Massage into your wellness routine, here are three reasons why you should at least try it:

  1. There is no Wizard. Kidding aside, you want to feel better!  Self-massage with a foam roller will help you feel better by reducing achiness and stiffness as well as improving your flexibility and range of motion.  The better you feel, the more time you’ll have for activities like riding the Horse of a Different Color or a hot air balloon.
  2. You’re cheap. It’s an affordable alternative to massage therapy.  While there is no replacement for a good massage therapist, it can become cost-prohibitive.  Foam rolling is an affordable option, especially since you can do it at home, once you learn how to properly perform the exercises.  Learning options range from group classes offering Foam Rolling Self Massage techniques at local wellness/yoga/fitness facilities to one-on-one instruction with a professional.  Some of the group class options offer complimentary foam rollers, but always check with the facility before attending any class option, as the number of free rollers may be limited.  Prices on rollers vary from around $40 up to $100 (less than a massage).  An experienced fitness professional or facility can provide recommendations based on your goals.
  3. You’re stressed out. A recent study(3) concluded that very slow, gradual pressure from self-massage with a foam roller lowered the activities of the sympathetic nerves.  The sympathetic nervous system orchestrates what we call the “fight-or-flight” response. Just imagine the Scarecrow running from the Wicked Witch of the West!    When you’re fight-or-flight response is lowered, it gives your body’s “rest-and-restore” response a chance to activate.  It is when you are in this “rest and restore” mode that your body is most efficient to repair and heal itself. Last, when performing Foam Rolling Self Massage on yourself, you are also working on your present moment awareness which cultivates a better mind-body balance optimizing your wellbeing, vitality, and wholeness.

Conclusion

Whether you’re feeling like the rusty version of the Tin Man or just want to augment your wellness routine, give Foam Rolling Self Massage a try. There’s no place like foam!

As with any exercise program, consult with your doctor if you have any physical conditions.

References:

  1. Mohr, A.R., Long, B.C., & Goad, C.L. (2014) Effect of foam rolling and static stretching on passive hip-flexion range of motion.Journal of Sport Rehabilitation, 23(4), pp.296-299.
  2. Couture, C. , Karlik, D., Glass, Stephen. (2015). The Effect of Foam Rolling Duration on Hamstring Range of Motion.OPen Orthop J, 9: 450-455.
  3. Kanghoon Kim, MS, PT1), Sunghyun Park, BSc, PT1)*, Bong-Oh Goo, PhD, PT1), Seok-Cheol Choi, PhD2. Effect of Self-myofascial Release on Reduction of Physical Stress: A Pilot Study https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jpts/26/11/26_jpts-2014-157/_pdf

Accupressure/Myofascial Massage w/Balls

Many of you have asked me about the benefits of Soft Foam Rolling as per my Florida Today article3 Reasons to Try Foam Rolling.  During March, I added the same self-massage principles into our Gentle Yoga & Stretching Class. However, instead using a foam roller, we used “balls” for massaging the fascia of our hands and feet.
Working with the feet, in particular, offers many benefits as they are the foundation to our bodies. If we have problematic feet, (ie. plantar fasciitis, bunions, chronic pain), the negative affect may impact our knees, hips, spine, and so on.  Also, our feet hold many accupressure points, that when massaged, can induce a healing response in other parts of our body. For example, a positive change to digestion, sleep, or anxiety may be the last thing we think about when it comes to working our feet, but massaging the feet can have a real impact on these areas.

So I hope we have fun on those days when I bring the balls to yoga class, but my wish is that you experience even more positive changes to your overall wellbeing that you derive from your regular yoga practice.

See you on the mat!

3 Reasons to Try Beach Yoga

We are stoked at the rapid growth of our Saturday Beach Yoga classes held 8:30 a.m at Lori Wilson Park in Cocoa Beach.  We meet for a 60-minute hatha yoga sequence and brief meditation led by Abby Houck. 100% of any donations received benefit at-risk, local families in Merritt Island (see next month’s newsletter for details).  All levels, especially beginners and kids, are welcome.

Here are 3 reasons from students who already tried Saturday Beach Yoga:

  1. Mother Nature:  “Really enjoyed the morning yoga class on the beach with the feel of the warm breeze, the sound of the soothing waves and the smell of the salt air! It was perfect!! My morning is complete!!! Thank you 🙏” – Ed O.
  2. Community:  “Loved this class! Perfect start to a beautiful day! Thank you for doing this!!” – Liz L.
  3. Fun:  “We had such a great time! … I loved doing yoga to the sound and smell of the ocean 🌊” – Heidi C.
If you haven’t tried Beach Yoga yet, bring a blanket or large towel instead of a mat. You will also need sunscreen and a water bottle. Poses are slow since we practice on the sand versus a hard floor.
If Saturdays don’t work for you, check our Online Calendar for other other community wellness options.

Need Better Sleep?

man-headphones-sleep-680-300x182Some of you may know that I suffer from sleep apnea. I’m occassionally invited to share practical tips on relaxation at a fun support group, called A.W.A.K.E at Parish Medical Center in Port St. John.  At one of the meetings, I recommended listening to binaural beats at bedside – many tracks can be streamed for free via YouTube.  One of sleep technicians who attended the session recently switched to night shift and was having trouble STAYING asleep.  She would wake up after after sleeping for three hours.  Does this happen to you?

She tried her rainfall sound music, but it didn’t work.  After tossing & turning, she remembered the tip & searched for binaural beats for dreaming.  She said, “At first, I was skepical that it would work…but I wanted to go back to sleep so bad that I focused on the sounds and slowed my breathing.  It worked and I had powerful dreams! I can’t believe it really worked!”

If you’de like to sample a binaural beats soundtrack, click the link or image below.  Also, if you or anyone you love, has been diagnosed with a sleep disorder, below is information for the FREE monthly group.

A.W.A.K.E.—Alert, Well and Keeping Energetic—is a health awareness group for those with sleep disorders.  Everyone with a related interest in sleep and health is encouraged to attend. This meeting is held the second Monday of every month from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Parrish Healthcare Center at Port St. John (south entrance). Call 321-268-6408 for more information.

Keep Your New Year’s Resolution In Check

Happy resolutionsNew Year everyone! Each January, millions of Americans make resolutions to improve their health, to lose weight or to “finally get in shape.”  Many of these resolutions die off in a few weeks because of unrealistic expectations about our bodies, or we don’t set up a proper support system/time to achieve our goals. Here are a few simple tips that might help you achieve success in 2018:
  • Make a concrete goal & keep a journal to track your progress
  • Start small – take small steps towards your goal. Celebrate your successes, but don’t beat yourself up if you have a setback.
  • Talk about it. Share your experiences with family and friends. Ask for support.  Rochelle loves to listen & share.
  • Go to yoga 🙂
Check our Online Calendar  for a list of classes to say on track with your resolution! Many are affordable community/donation classes and are a great way to meet other people who can help support you in 2018!