Robert Schleip joined a team of researchers from Japan. The article ‘The acute mechanism of the self-massage-induced effects of using a foam roller’ was published in the "Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies": https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbmt.2021.02.012
Recently, self-massage using a foam roller (FR) has been used in clinical and/or sports settings to effectively and immediately improve ROM. Many studies have found significant increases in ROM following the FR intervention; however, the mechanism of the effect is unclear. We aimed to clarify this mechanism regarding the ROM effects following the FR intervention by evaluating local tissue and autonomic nervous system responses.
The study employed a crossover design that included a comparison between non-intervention (CON trial: left leg) and intervention (FR trial: right leg) groups. Fourteen volunteers participated. Nine outcomes (passive maximum ankle ROM, tissue hardness, skin temperature, water contents, circumference, blood flow velocity, pressure pain threshold, autonomic nervous system, and heart rate) were investigated before and post intervention.
Skin temperature, impedance, and circumference changed significantly following the intervention, and increased ROM was observed.
Although we found that the FR intervention influenced skin temperature, impedance, circumference, and ROM, adaptability to the intervention may differ depending on an individual's characteristics. Females and/or individuals with a high body water content could obtain greater positive ROM effects than males and/or individuals with a low body water content.