Updated: Jun 28, 2019
I'm not sure if there are more people that hate the foam roller or that love it. I think most people actually have a love/hate relationship with it. It can be awkward and uncomfortable at first trying to learn how to get in different positions, holding your body up, not to mention the pain of hitting those tender spots. But on the other hand the lovely feeling of having full circulation flowing through the muscles, an instant increase in the range of motion in your joints, and chronic knots and tension released is worth it!
The foam roller was nicknamed "The Poor Man's Massage" because it is as close as you can get to a massage without needing another person or any assistance. It is an amazing tool that costs less than $20 most places. There are a wide variety of different foam rollers on the market like vibrating foam rollers, grooves for your spine in the foam roller, patterns that apply more pressure to trigger points, and the list goes on. After trying a wide variety, my favorite is still the very basic high density black foam roller. I love having the power to make my body feel better just by spending 10-15 minutes on the foam roller. I recommend it to almost every single one of my clients. You can do it at home, watching TV, listening to an audio book, at the gym, in the park...practically anywhere.
The foam roller is also called Self Myofascial Release or SMR. As the name implies, it helps release the fascia, a type of connective tissue surrounding all of our muscles. Over time the fascia binds to muscles and nerves and inhibits normal movement which can cause pain. The deep compression of the foam roller allows the fascia to release which allows normal blood flow to resume. This cannot happen with stretching alone, you have to use deep tissue massage, Thai Yoga Massage, or a foam roller to get these results. It is so quick and simple to do and without a doubt you will feel better after.