The Parameters of Foam Rolling, Self-Myofascial Release Treatment: A Review of the Literature

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Abstract

Self-myofascial release (SMR) is a well-known and popular therapy. Its growing popularity is based on high effectiveness and availability. However, there is a lack of agreement about which parameters should be used to optimize the effects of the therapy. The purpose of this review is to critically select and assess current literature and ascertain the values of the follow­ing parameters: (1) therapy duration, (2) volume of applied pressure, (3) speed and (4) frequency of roll, (5) type of roller, (6) the number of treatment applications during one session, (7) the duration of intervals between applications that yield the best results in terms of soft tissue.

The authors launched their research in May 2018. The search strategy included the electronic databases EBSCOhost and PubMed. The following inclusion criteria were assessed:

- English language, high quality manuscripts (evaluation in PEDro scale)

- at least one of the groups using the foam roller, tennis ball or the stick to fascial release

- basic parameters of therapy described.A total 55 articles met the inclusion criteria. Patients can usually withstand a maximum tolerable pressure for 30-120 seconds, repeated 1-3 times, separated by 30 seconds of rest. The intensity of a single rolling movement should be moderate, and the movement should last about 3 seconds. Keeping the roller on particularly sensitive areas is recommended to release tension and enhance blood perfusion.Currently, there is no consensus on an optimal FR programme. However, there is a tendency to use SMR tools with a physiol­ogy-based method to enhance therapeutic efficiency.

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