Work from home set-up got you wondering when massage parlors will be declared essential services? There’s truly no need to roll with it.
A foam roller—that portable device you might have picked up that one time you decided you could become a long-distance runner—could be the answer to your knotty prayers. “A lot of people don’t really know what they can do with it. You know, they think they can roll their IT bands out and maybe do some physical therapy and stuff and some rehab,” wellness educator Lauren Roxburgh tells E! News. “But the reality is, I look at the roller as your own in-home private masseuse and also your private Pilates teacher, personal trainer and yoga teacher because you can use it for so many things.”
(Because after you’re done relaxing your tight shoulders and back, you can use the instability of the roller as a Pilates reformer substitute, following some of Roxburgh’s workouts here or on her Aligned Life Studio app.)
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Her favorite use, though, is the one that has longtime client Gwyneth Paltrow raving about her services, dubbing the board certified Structural Integration practitioner “the body whisperer.”
Because more often than not, when Roxburgh reaches for her foam roller, she’s using it to “restore the connective tissue,” she says, “flush the lymph system and also peel away the layers of stress and density and thickness.” Read: Ditch the puffiness and deliver on the promises in her book, Taller, Slimmer, Younger.
The science of it all involves your body’s fascia, or what experts are calling your sensory organ, “the webbing that wraps around our entire bodies like a matrix,” says Roxburgh, existing in between the muscle and skin not unlike Saran Wrap. Age, injury, stress—got any of that these days?—causes it to become thicker and denser, in turn, making your muscles appear bulkier.
When you properly apply pressure via the roller, “It’s like if you took a rolling pin to some dough,” notes the body alignment pro. “You’re kind of squeezing and wringing it out.” (As an added bonus, the work is said to calm the nervous system and stimulate the release of serotonin and oxytocin. Yay, happiness!)