Can you tell me more about the use of hard foam rollers for SMR? Also, has there been any positive feedback as to the use of therapy balls, body bolsters or soft rollers?
Thank you for your question. There are some very good articles on the site on the rollers (see “related articles” at right), but as far as contraindicators go, a lot of this is done through a better understanding of the function of the body.
The roller is used as a tool that can release tension in the myofascial system (muscle and fascia). This can be caused by many things: stress (chemical, physical, emotional or psychological) impact or trauma, repetitive movement patterns, poor exercise conditioning, poor hydration and diet or bad posture. Combine the roller with some of the new mobilizers from the PTN Exercise Library, and you will get some fantastic results for your clients.
As far as the types of rollers go, generally all foam rollers have a different consistency. There are variations across the board of density of the types of foam due to the manufacturing process. Obviously, "softer" rollers are less intimidating to the "pressure" points of the myofascial system. Any release of the myofascial system is a positive, so if your client finds the softer rollers beneficial, that is great. They will be more likely to use them and therefore help the body help itself!
I would issue a word of warning if you have not done an SMR course and you intend to use various types of "balls" on your clients. Be careful. There are many types of myofascial release tools being produced now that can give the body benefits, but if you recommend using the tool to the client, then you are responsible for the outcome. Just be aware that whatever the myofascial release "tool," use it yourself first before you pass it onto your client. Most are fine, but there are some that are not... you need to know which ones to recommend
I hope this has helped answer some of your questions.
Keep up the good work!