Foam Roller Review: Why I choose a soft foam roller?

by Melissa West on

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Foam Roller Review

In this video I will explain how soft foam rollers work and which foam rollers are most effective for yogis. This video is not a review of foam rollers for athletes or people using foam rollers alongside weight training. This video is going to specifically talk about choosing a foam roller for people who have more supple bodies through yin yoga, restorative yoga and meditation and will take closer connection to their subtle bodies, energetic bodies, and emotional bodies. I have several yoga students who are recovering from cancer, living with chronic illness, lupus, chronic fatigue, chronic migraines, back pain, arthritis, and choosing a foam roller that will not send them into a healing crisis or a neurological backlash is of utmost priority to me.

For a PDF of my favourite props and how to use them in a 10 week series of videos go to

If you have tried foam rolling and come away feeling more pain symptoms or tired and achy like you are coming down with the flu then this video about which reviews foam rollers and explains why I choose a soft foam roller will be of interest to you.

I don´t know about you, but names like rumble roller, viper and beastie bar already have me shrinking back with more tension in my body. They just sound incredibly aggressive.

This article is about how I have chosen the best foam roller for myself and my students. It is for yogis, specifically for yogis who are interested in the more inward styles of yoga like that affect the subtle body and energetic body in yin yoga, restorative yoga, and yoga nidra. It is a article for students like mine who are incredibly connected to their emotional bodies, energetic bodies and spiritual bodies. Sometimes these people refer to themselves as highly sensitive people. This is not for super hard core athletes with chiseled muscular and armored bodies.

I have been offering myofascial release to our members in our membership community using balls and foam rollers since 2013. This May we are focusing on self myofascial release with Myofascial May.

Before I tell you my favourite foam roller for highly sensitive people, people with more supple bodies, people who are connected with their energy and emotions, I think it would be a helpful to explain how self myofascial release works.

Myo means muscle and fascia refers to the network of connective tissue that surrounds and includes your muscle.

The fascial tissues get misaligned due to trauma, injury, poor movement patterns and emotional stress.

The nervous system and fascial systems are intricately connected. Put most simply, the nervous system is using the fascial system to feel its environment, and then deciding how to feel about it.

Fascia is rich in nerve endings, when we roll on a foam roller, nerve signals flow to the brain and back to our myofascia. So the pressure that we place on the foam roller creates a neurophysiological response and communicates a message.

The question is, what kind of message are we communicating to our brain and our myofascia and this is where I think what foam roller we are using, how we are using it and how often we are using it is incredibly important.

So because we are creating a neurophysiological response with these foam rollers we need to respect that our brain has a limited capacity for change. If we ask the brain to integrate too strong a change with tool like a rumble roller or a viber or a beastie bar for example, the change that we are asking our tissue to make might be way too strong, too soon and too different from our current experience, especially if you are a highly sensitive person.

Our nervous system will then kick in a shut down. We experience something called a neural backlash or a healing crisis. With a neural backlash we are going to wire in the problem that we were trying to roll out more deeply. With a healing crisis or healing transition you are going to have more pain symptoms or feel tired and achy like you are coming down with the flu.

It might be that you are doing too much at once on the foam roller, spending too long on the foam roller or applying too much pressure or compression on your foam roller. This is what we are focusing on today when it comes to choosing the right foam roller for you. If your foam roller is too hard then it is applying too much pressure and compression on you!

If self myofascial release with foam rolling is going to be helpful for us then we need to choose a foam roller that is going to allow us to communicate to our brain gently and over time so that we can slowly integrate the changes. This is the only way that our nervous system can integrate change.

I have so many students who are recovering from cancer, who have chronic fatigue, who are living with lupus, who are going through the long term process of healing and living with chronic illness and if you were to put them on a firm foam roller like the viper or the rumble or the bestie bar or even just a firm foam roller it would send them right into a healing crisis. I myself live with chronic migraines and anytime I do too much I can go into a migraine episode that can last anywhere from a day to weeks.

Although we all dream of dramatic improvements in one session and amazing transformations, the truth is they are counterproductive and they leave us in more pain then when we started. Small changes that we can integrate over time win the race. Like the tortoise and the hare.

This is why I use a pro density soft foam roller in all my membership videos. We have over 10 of them in our membership community. These are the videos our members will be focusing on in May.

By the way, it is not about ¨progressing¨ or moving onto a harder foam roller either. It is about effective communication between your nervous system and your fascial system so that you can have less tension and more effective movement integrated over time. Less is more, more is not more. Let´s be smart about our movement.

OPTP sells a Pro Roller Soft that is 36¨ x 6¨ long, that is three feet long so that it can cover the full length of your spine. for $37.80 This is not sponsored and I have not been gifted one. I just think it is the best priced, non-branded, well constructed soft foam roller on the market. Plus, my students have tested it and used it with success for a number of years now.



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