Reese Elliot
002 Reese’s Pieces 3-29-16
Have you ever been to the gym and seen someone on the floor with a weird looking tube under their body, rolling back and forth? At first this can be quite a spectacle. The sounds they make and the look on their faces may make you think twice before signing up for whatever group fitness class they’re taking. What would cause a person to perform such self-torture at the gym? No need to fear. Myofascial release is here! Wait….huh?
Myofascial release is a technique used by many athletes (especially dancers) to rid the body of aches and pains. Often when injury occurs it’s assumed to be muscular trauma. This trauma such as scarring, swelling, and repetitive stress to tissue can cause the body to be sore and tight. Although the muscles may be sore, they aren’t necessarily the cause of your discomfort. Fascia is a densely woven collection of tissue that connects all compartments of your body. These web like sheets have a wavy structure and help to support and align muscles. When micro trauma to this tissue occurs, the fascia’s ability to stretch and move freely is inhibited. Correcting or relieving this is vital to maintain normal or performance level muscle function.
Now that we have some knowledge of fascia, let’s connect the dots. Those little squishy balls and that oversized tootsie rolls that people are laying on, how do they work? Those sore spots on your body that cause an extra wince or moan are called trigger points. Consider trigger points as the gateway to your fascia, and thus the rest of your body. When we roll out on our fancy body rollers, the pressure we apply to the trigger points is what helps alleviate our pain. It’s a type of self-massage. Once you find these trigger points on your body, roll over them applying pressure for 30-60 seconds. Pain tolerance is going to vary by person so it is important to remember to not overdo it. There is no sense in hurting our bodies further. Breathing is vital during this period. Taking deep controlled breaths will make the process easier. If you feel as though the spot is too tender, try a softer object. Tennis and racquet balls make for a great softer substitute. After rolling out your muscles should feel more relaxed and less painful. If you start to roll out regularly try your best to find new spots, constantly analyzing what feels best for you.
I hope these techniques work for you. To let me know your thoughts, reach me at I welcome discussions and questions related to dance fitness. It’s my hope that every life is enriched through dance, health, and well-being. The most important thing to consider when trying to get healthy is to constantly strive to get better and make improvements. The results we get are a reflection of the efforts we put in.
Reese Elliot
Dance Professional