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Myofascial release may help with tightness and stiffness in the muscles or fascia. There are various tools available for home use.
Quick look links
- For a high-density foam roller: LuxFit Premium High-Density Foam Roller
- For a versatile foam roller: Trigger Point GRID Foam Roller
- For battery-powered percussion: Therabody Theragun PRO
- For a stick muscle roller: RAD Rod
- For a rollerball that uses cryotherapy: Recoup Fitness Cryosphere
- For a massage ball set with differing densities: 4KOR Fitness Ultimate Massage Ball Set
Myofascial release is a type of therapeutic technique that may relieve muscle pain, tightness, and stiffness. It can relax the muscles, which may also improve blood, oxygen, and lymphatic circulation.
A person may self-administer the therapy using various tools, though they may notice
To use a foam roller or massage ball, for example, a person places the tight area of their body over the roller. They then use their body weight to apply pressure to the area and move forward and backward.
Another popular tool for myofascial release is a percussion massager. This works by applying a percussive, pummel motion to the affected area.
Some household items can also help a person achieve myofascial release, including:
- tennis balls
- lacrosse balls
- rolling pins
A 2015 study suggested that self-administered myofascial release is effective for both athletes and non-athletes. The authors of the study concluded that it could increase flexibility and provide recovery enhancement.
In the same year, a
However, the review also stated that there was, at the time, no consensus on the best program for self-administered myofascial release.
A 2015 review also found some benefits associated with using these tools before a workout, as the blood flow to tissue increased and helped with people’s warmups.
People should consider which part of their body they would most like to target with myofascial release therapy, as there are many tools available that may best suit different parts of the body. For example, rollers may be suitable for back muscles, while resistance bands may be better for limbs.
A person may also wish to consider the following when choosing a myofascial release tool:
- durability and lifetime
- ease of use
- size and storage space
- area of the body that needs attention
Starting with a basic tool is often beneficial. Over time, a person may become increasingly tolerant of myofascial release therapy, and they may consider speaking with a healthcare professional for additional advice.
Below is a list of myofascial release tools and their features.
Please note that the writer of this article has not tried any of these products. All information presented here is purely research-based.
This foam roller from LuxFit comes in three different sizes: 12 inches (in), 18 in, and 36 in.
The company claims that this foam roller is extra rigid, allowing for maximum firmness and pressure from its molded polypropylene foam.
LuxFit also claims that the roller does not lose its shape after prolonged use and is water repellent.
The company offers a 1-year limited warranty.
This foam roller by Trigger Point is slightly more versatile than a standard foam roller. It is available in eight colors but only one size. It features a varied, multi-density foam surface that provides firmer compression for muscles.
Trigger Point says that this roller can help relieve pain and tightness, improve mobility, and increase circulation. The company also states that different healthcare professionals recommend this product.
A manufacturer warranty applies for 12 months on all Trigger Point products, protecting against defects.
This handheld, battery-powered percussion device applies pressure deep into muscle tissue. A person holds it against the sore muscle, and the percussive, pummel motion increases blood flow to loosen tightness.
The Theragun PRO has a quiet motor and comes with two external rechargeable batteries, so a person can use one while charging the other. Each battery lasts for up to 5 hours.
Therabody says that its PRO model reaches 60% deeper into muscle than traditional massagers and has a customizable speed range of up to 2,400 percussions per minute.
The warranty the company offers differs by device part, as detailed in the following table.
|Length of warranty||Part covered|
|2 years||device and charger|
|90 days||lithium-ion batteries|
|1 year (2 years in Europe and the United Kingdom)||world travel charger|
|1 year (2 years in Europe and the U.K.)||wireless charging stand|
The RAD Rod is a type of muscle roller in the shape of a stick. A person rolls out their tense muscles using the Rod, which provides myofascial release. It is similar to a foam roller, but the key difference is that people use their hands rather than their body weight to apply pressure.
The RAD Rod is made using high-density foam, silicone, and steel. RAD claims that its product is eco-friendly and free from latex, bisphenol A, and plastic. The company claims that the product does not bend and does not pinch the skin.
Its dimensions are 22 in by 0.75 in, and it weighs 1.2 pounds.
RAD offers a lifetime warranty on the Rod.
This product from Recoup Fitness uses cold temperatures to target inflamed muscles and provide myofascial release. Using cold temperatures in this way is known as cryotherapy.
At the moment, there is little evidence to suggest that cryotherapy improves physiologic response, but many people report that it feels good and offers relief.
This product is a free-rolling ball made of stainless steel, with a rubber handle that provides a good grip and keeps the hands warm. If a person uses the ball on an area of the body that does not require handling, such as rolling it underfoot, they can remove the ball from its casing.
A person should place the Cryosphere in the freezer for 2 hours, which provides 6 hours of use. The company claims that the product is 100% leakproof.
The Cryosphere has a limited warranty of 1 year from the date of purchase.
Massage balls work similarly to foam rollers and rods. A person applies pressure to a painful muscle using the ball for deep tissue pain relief or muscle loosening.
This massage ball set from 4KOR Fitness provides three different sized balls as part of one set. This means that the balls can target various muscles.
The two larger balls have a thermoplastic rubber tread, which provides a better grip and gives a firmer, deeper massage. The smallest ball is a lacrosse ball, and the company states that one of the three balls will suit any muscle that needs attention.
To activate the company’s limited lifetime warranty, a person needs to register their product on its website.
A person should contact a doctor or a physical therapist if they have muscle pain or stiffness that does not go away after trying various relief methods. They should also see a healthcare professional if they experience a severe loss of movement or level of pain.
People should seek immediate medical attention if other symptoms — such as breathing difficulties, extreme muscle weakness, a stiff neck, or fever — accompany muscle pain.
Myofascial release tools may help with muscle tightness and soreness. They could also improve blood circulation and aid post-workout recovery. They may also help with exercise warmups by increasing blood flow to the tissue.
However, further scientific research should take place to establish a recommended program of use.
There are various tools available for a person to self-administer myofascial release therapy. Before purchasing one, a person should consider which area of their body needs attention.