Rollers Can Feel Awesome

There’s a trendy – and painful – use of foam rollers sometimes recommended by fitness gurus and physical therapists. People roll their full weight with a hard roller. As one trainer put it: “Use a foam roller to break up any tight spots, but I’ll warn you—if you haven’t done this before, it’s pretty uncomfortable. It might want to make you curl up and cry.”

Guess what? Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais was the first one to use foam rollers and he didn’t use them to inflict pain. When Feldenkrais started using rollers, there were no foam rollers, so he used cardboard shipping tubes or wooden dowels. When he came to the U.S., his students had foam rollers made.Rollers are often used during individual Feldenkrais sessions when a student is lying or sitting on the table. Rollers can be arranged to simulate an upright position, to challenge balance, or to explore range of motion. The sensation may be strange, pleasant, delightful – but never painful.

This past weekend I was at the regional Feldenkrais conference in Tustin and heard Feldenkrais teacher Stacy Barrows speak about her innovative foam roller, called the Smart Roller®. We’ll be using Smart Rollers, rollers made from blankets, and foam rollers at the May 9 workshop.

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