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Foam Rollers: The Gripping Origins of Whatever These Things Are

Some of you might be very familiar with the objects above. Others may be stumped. Long story short, they’re foam rollers, used by fitness enthusiasts to massage out soreness and to speed physical recovery for their next workout.

Softer Support

That wasn’t always their purpose. Decades ago, rollers made of foam were almost exclusively used for packing. Then in 1972, Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais, founder of the Feldenkrais Method® - a therapeutic exercise regimen designed to reduce pain and mobility issues – discovered them. He put them to work physically supporting his clients during exercises designed to help them improve physical functioning through increased awareness of our own bodies.

Learn more about Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais and the Feldenkrais Method® HERE. (© International Feldenkrais® Federation Archive, Michael Wolgensinger)

Rolling Relief

In 1987, Sean Gallagher, a physical therapist and student of the method, realized foam rollers’ potential as a self-massage tool. This he shared with Broadway legend Jerome Robbins, who had his dance troupe try them – to rave reviews! Foam rollers became a popular recovery tool among Broadway dancers.

Many believed foam Rollers found their way to the Gym when physical therapist Mike Clark introduced them to achy-armed weight trainers. A strong proponent of the devices, Clark used the term “self myofascial release” to quantify their pain-erasing effect. He then wrote several manuals on their massage usage leading up to his Integrated Training for the New Millenium in 2001.

Since the first foam roller patent was registered in 2004 …

These tenderizing tubes have flourished, evolved and diversified. Their density, surface texture, shape and size vary to serve specific users and purposes.

If you’d like to find the foam roller for you (now that you know what they are), a Flaman Fitness expert would be happy to help you find it and advise you on how to get the most out of it.