I really hope my publisher doesn't read this because I should be writing my book instead of this blog. However, if you are reading this Sarena, this is necessary content for the book, so thanks for your support :-)
One of my students who is an amazing massage therapist and certified in Stretch to Win® Fascial Stretch Therapy™ sent me this private Facebook message (edited to get right to the point):
Question: I remember Ann once mentioning that she was not a fan of foam rolling, and I have heard a few other fitness professionals say the same thing.
Recently- I went through the TRPT (Trigger Point Performance Therapy) training & my question is this- was there a reason Ann didn't care for foam rolling? I'm asking because I seem to be seeing a lot of injuries and the reports are that they are using the TRPT system religiously- and as part of their rehab are being told to use it more. I think the TRPT system is sort of a repackaged fancied up foam rolling system geared toward athletes, so I'm trying to get to the bottom of why some fitness pros do not care for foam rolling.
I seem to be seeing an adverse correlation between the rolling and the injuries, but it could be a total fluke too. Curious what your thoughts are - and if there is some research into this.
Answer: First, I don't have the research at my fingertips & frankly don't have the time to do it (remember, my publisher is watching...& waiting for my new book manuscript). However, I think you bring up an excellent subject that begs answers which should be crowd sourced to get feedback & thinking from good brains & bodies out there that have experience with this actual problem. So readers, please, PLEASE contribute something we can sink our teeth into...pretty please? We'd all like to see any research on this and of course we all crave practical based evidence from good hands-on experience.
I'll do my best to get the thread started now before I have to leave (and, yes...write my book! Sorry, have to keep reminding myself in your presence).
After getting certified about 10 years ago in what TRPT used to (& may still) call the U-6, my wife Ann Frederick & I simply had better results using the TRPT tools in our Stretch to Win Center - they didn't deform over time like foam does which probably decreases foam effectiveness. TRPT felt much more specific & you could get into places like the fascia of the deep front line of the lower leg (inner shin) to access the posterior tibialis that you definitely couldn't with a foam roll of any size or density. Using the TRPT small ball with my hand or teaching a client to do that to themselves to access that fascia alone was HUGE & completely sold me on the products (I love Cassidy Phillips & his passion!!).
However too much of a good thing becomes what I call 'over-dosing' & becomes negative in its effect. Clients must be told that over-rolling (i.e. too much rolling or static lying over an object) is not good and simply mashing an area for long duration causes damage, delays healing & may increase scar tissue. I know this from personal experience both on myself and clients I've seen and the negative effects usually last for 3-7 days. If you muscle test, you will see it shut down muscle firing/activation if client has over dosed but of course if used correctly, will eliminate inhibition of antagonists to weak agonists resulting in normal strength testing after proper dosing of rolling. Therefore it is the professional's responsibility to give correct & individualized dosing guidelines for rolling or whatever self technique one is using with a tool used for this purpose. The challenge with offering guidelines, is that if self bodywork techniques are in effect trying to do by one's self that a professional bodyworker does, then one must individualize the intent. That means, some clients will respond better to more intense applications (intensity-duration-frequency) than others. Before I discuss dosing (which I will do in a follow up post if readers contribute to this post), I must say DON'T CALL ANY KIND OF SELF ROLLING SELF MYOFASCIAL RELEASE!!!
For those that don't know, myofascial release or MFR comes from the physical therapy (John Barnes, PT) and bodywork field and has very specific parameters using certain outlined guidelines but greatly guided by the practitioner's hands in response to the client's real time mind-body feedback. That means one would NEVER always use the same parameter, like some have instructed one should always body roll or lie over a spot for 15-30 seconds. That makes no sense in the MFR world. If you have taken at least one workshop in the practical application of using MFR with your hands on a client THEN you can use those principles & apply it to using a tool like a ball or roller to get vaguely similar (but definitely NOT the same) effects. Anyone who has this training knows that the conventional rolling we all see out there in the field is not true MFR in the least. This means that the great majority of professionals in fitness who are not also trained as bodyworkers who have also not trained in MFR are calling the rolling that they do self MFR or SMFR when it is NOT that at all. For North Americans (yes, you Canadians too) not trained in MFR, just call a spade a spade, i.e. call it self rolling, self release, fitness rolling or whatever but not self Mhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myofascial_releaseFR as it is mis-leading and mis-representation if put in your marketing material, website or whatever.
[FULL DISCLOSURE: in my book, "Stretch to Win", on p.67 I use the term sMFR in my Personal Flexibility Assessment (PFA) section. I started writing this in 2003 and felt compelled at the time to use that nomenclature because NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) used it in their OPT manual, among other places & I thought it good to stay on the same page as other respected educational institutions about definitions. Despite my use of Thomas Myers' fascial body diagrams from the 1st edition of Anatomy Trains and my own description of the general principles of fascial anatomy and some physiology in chapter 2, I still partially referred to rolling as an assessment tool to identify and then treat trigger points (TPs). That goal is different and only one of many goals to be achieved in actual therapeutic MFR. Fortunately my experience and feelings about TPs has evolved and matured along with my feelings about rolling such that if I would write the 2nd edition (which I'm not), I would re-write and clarify the MFR rolling as a specific effective technique. I'll be sure to put that in my new book about Fascial Stretch Therapy for advanced manual and movement therapists (yes, shameless plug, wasn't that!)].
At this point in this post, I'm starting to feel guilty about getting back to writing my book, so I will not go into describing what MFR is (yes, I'm trained in it). That's for one of you guys, if you want to contribute to this great topic. I'll certainly chime in and get into to it too. But I want to see if you're really interested first... .
So summary and short answer to whether clients can overdo self rolling & get injured is YES but this can be avoided if the professional responsible for exercise & rolling prescription gives proper dosing guidelines (which I welcome anyone to post if they have had good results).