Therapy rollers are used for self-massage. They help soothe tight, sore areas of musculature and connective tissue.

This process of rolling out tight muscles and relieving tension is known as self-myofascial release (SMR). Sometimes called “poor man’s massage” because it’s what massage therapists have been doing for years.

Rolling out your fascia (a layer of fibrous connective tissue that surrounds all your muscles) will result in increased blood flow, lubricated healthy fascia, improved muscular range of motion and a release of sore tight spots known as trigger points.

Trigger points are permanently contracted clusters of muscle fibers which form nodules. Once formed trigger points will not dissolve on their own—they need to be massaged away—either by you or your massage therapist.

Trigger points cause sensations ranging from minor occasional discomfort to constant incapacitating pain. They can cause active pain or no pain until the spot is touched. They also cause referred pain (pain not at the site of the trigger point); frozen shoulder, chronic neck stiffness, migraines are examples of referred pain related to trigger points.

Self myofascial release is crucial for athletes. It’s also an important part of overall self care for the rest of us.