Biomedical Human Kinetics, 11, 36–46, 2019
The parameters of foam rolling, self-myofascial release treatment:
a review of the literature
Przemysław Dębski1, Ewelina Białas1, Rafał Gnat2
1 Jerzy Kukuczka Academy of Physical Education, Katowice, Poland; 2 Motion Analysis Laboratory, Department of
Physiotherapy, Jerzy Kukuczka Academy of Physical Education, Katowice, Poland
Self-myofascial release (SMR) is a well-known and popular therapy. Its growing popularity is based on high effectiveness
and availability. However, there is a lack of agreement about which parameters should be used to optimize the effects of the
therapy. The purpose of this review is to critically select and assess current literature and ascertain the values of the follow-
ing parameters: (1) therapy duration, (2) volume of applied pressure, (3) speed and (4) frequency of roll, (5) type of roller, (6)
the number of treatment applications during one session, (7) the duration of intervals between applications that yield the best
results in terms of soft tissue.
The authors launched their research in May 2018. The search strategy included the electronic databases EBSCOhost and
PubMed. The following inclusion criteria were assessed:
– English language, high quality manuscripts (evaluation in PEDro scale)
– at least one of the groups using the foam roller, tennis ball or the stick to fascial release
– basic parameters of therapy described.
A total 55 articles met the inclusion criteria. Patients can usually withstand a maximum tolerable pressure for 30–120 seconds,
repeated 1–3 times, separated by 30 seconds of rest. The intensity of a single rolling movement should be moderate, and the
movement should last about 3 seconds. Keeping the roller on particularly sensitive areas is recommended to release tension and
enhance blood perfusion.
Currently, there is no consensus on an optimal FR programme. However, there is a tendency to use SMR tools with a physiol-
ogy-based method to enhance therapeutic efciency.
Keywords: Self-myofascial release – Foam rolling – Connective tissue – Fascia – Therapy
Self-myofascial release (SMR) is a collective term for
manual therapy techniques based on the effects of applying
mechanical force to soft body tissue . Self-myofascial
release is widely used by people who are physically active,
is one of the tools used by physiotherapists in their work
with patients, and is useful for athletes from all sporting dis-
ciplines at all levels of competition [14, 42]. The main ob-
jective of adding SMR to a set of therapeutic techniques or
to training aids is improvement in range of motion (ROM)
and a reduction in post-training muscular pain [21, 68].
Although rollers of various density are used increasingly
in SMR, many authors point out that there is still a lack of
robust scientic evidence documenting their effects on the
fascia in the literature . Furthermore, a lack of agree-
ment on the values of basic therapeutic parameters is very
apparent: the duration of treatment and of breaks, the type
of roller to be used, the force to be applied on the tissue,
the speed and frequency of rolling, and also the number of
times the treatment should be repeated in one session [14,
57, 65]. As the literature contains few details on the meth-
ods of treatment, it is more difcult to establish a theoreti-
cal estimate of the therapeutic benets of SMR. It could
be said that some of the descriptions of the benets of this
kind of therapy are anecdotal in nature, and demand a much
more methodologically precise approach to the topic .
This issue is even more signicant these days, as SMR has
been successfully adapted to the needs of the tness mar-
ket and physiotherapy . As a result, the tools used in
SMR have become accessible for the domestic user with
Author’s address Przemysław Dębski, University of Physical Education, Reymonta 3/I/11, 41–206 Sosnowiec, Poland
The parameters of foam rolling: a review of the literature
little experience, limited awareness of their body, and a lack
of basic knowledge of the way the treatment works, and
also for people who treat patients with symptoms of muscu-
loskeletal system dysfunction [61, 67].
The basics of the way SMR affects the body are similar
to the mechanisms that are activated during self-massage,
and these terms are often used interchangeably. This also
applies to the forms of SMR which use rollers (FR – foam
rolling). The rollers are used to lengthen and apply pres-
sure to the fascia, which in turn stimulates histological
tissue changes in the area being treated, which has under-
gone pathological changes through strain, traumatising
movements, metabolic dysfunction and even psychologi-
cal factors [32, 42]. Self-treatment is supposed to lead to
the elimination of symptoms known as fascial restrictions
and adhesions, such as pain and decreased ROM [34, 68].
There are many theories which attempt to explain the
effects obtained during myofascial release, and which also
occur during foam rolling therapy. These effects include:
changes in elasticity caused by the thixotropic properties
of soft tissue [37, 44, 65, 68], a piezoelectric effect [9, 55]
release of fascial adhesions [51, 55] cellular response to
pressure [9, 55], stimulation of tissue uid ow [9, 44],
neural inhibition  and release of trigger points [43, 55,
66, 77]. It is worth emphasizing that the authors often
do not limit their work to the identication of one of the
mechanisms above, but rather give two or three of them,
which are related to each other logically. As an example,
the increase of tissue temperature by friction will surely
lead to thixotropic changes, and, as a result, easier release
of adhesions. Similarly, increased blood ow to the tissue
will lead to oxygenation and may put an end to the ener-
getic crisis which is referred to as one reason behind the
formation of trigger points .
There is no lack of evidence for the effectiveness of
self-myofascial release. It is worth emphasizing that the
results of treatments carried out differ from each other sig-
nicantly. One of the principal factors which might have
an effect on this signicant variation is an unspecied re-
search methodology, and in particular, the basic parameters
of treatment: time, intensity and speed of rolling, length of
pause between each set of rolling, and also the number of
rolling sets during one self-treatment session.
For example, Vigotsky et al. , MacDonald et al. 
and Markovic  used two sets of self-release for 60 sec-
onds during one treatment session, Kelly and Beardsley
, Peacock et al.  and Skarabot et al.  obtained
statistically signicant effects from 30-second treatments,
and Sullivan et al.  used 5- and 10-second sets as ap-
propriate. Such large differences in signicant treatment
parameters make the evaluation of SMR as a generally
accessible and widely used treatment method difcult.
Very important outcomes were observed in the study by
Bradbury-Squires et al. . They used the same protocol
of rolling in 5 repetitions but in one group 20 seconds of
rolling was recommended whereas in the other group it
was 60 seconds. A 10% increase in knee ROM was ob-
served in the rst group and a 16% increase was observed
in the group with longer treatment.
Regarding the force applied, there arises the ques-
tion whether greater pressure exerted on tissues provides
greater therapeutic effects. Aboodarda et al.  described
high muscle vertical pressure as a 1–3 cm deep muscle
therapy, but they obtained this outcome with a hard rubber
roller massager and the command not to produce a greater
value than 7/10 on the Visual Analogue Scale. There is
a tendency to use a command such as AMAP – as much
pressure as possible – and AMAT – as much pressure as
tolerable. Kelly and Beardsley  suggested, based on
Schleip’s work, that the force applied during rolling may
serve to increase parasympathetic nervous activity through
the stimulation of mechanoreceptors. However, a key is-
sue for this parameter is perception of pain. Pain is a very
complex multidimensional process involving the central
nervous system and other systems of the body  that
can occur if too much pressure is used. It is also suggested
that higher density tools may have a stronger effect than
softer density .
Another parameter that requires discussion is frequen-
cy of rolling determined by the number of repetitions and
cadence of motion. This parameter can play the key role
in improving uid ow in tissues, which is described as
one of the mechanisms responsible for changes in range
of motions  as well as the often mentioned release of
brous adhesions between the different layers of the fas-
cia . There is a possibility that researchers could ob-
tain a different result if they applied a xed cadence and
a xed pressure. Also it is hypothesized that changes in
fascia are caused to some extent by friction resulting from
Among the most important parameters are the number
of sets during one treatment session and the duration of
pause maintained between sets. There is a lack of agree-
ment how many times the application should be repeated
to maximize positive outcomes. For practical purposes it
should be determined whether an additional set of rolling
could possibly bring more valuable results. The potential
association between volume of the therapy and the results
was rst suggested by Skarabot and Beardsley , be-
cause they suspected that greater duration of treatment
was responsible for their results.
The aim of the study was to compare the treatment pa-
rameters used up to now by researchers and then, on the ba-
sis of the data collected, to answer the following question:
Which parameter value – duration of treatment, level
of force applied to tissue, type of therapeutic tool, speed
and frequency of rolling, and also number of applications
of treatment during one treatment session and duration of
P. Dębski et al.
the break between these applications – demonstrates the
greatest effect on soft tissue in the current literature?
Material and methods
The authors divided the evaluation into several stages
based on the PRISMA search strategy . Firstly, ab-
stracts and titles were identied through a database search.
The desired research papers had to contain the key words
“self-myofascial release” or “foam rolling”. The search
engines EBSCOhost, Google Scholar and PubMed were
used for this purpose. Only papers in English were includ-
SMR: 261 items
FR: 326 items (as of 25.10.2018)
Secondly, duplicates and commercial items were re-
jected. Then, remaining articles were screened through in-
clusion criteria and assessed for eligibility. The remaining
criteria for inclusion were:
– the use of a cylindrical roller, tennis ball or a hand rol-
ler for massage in the treatment
– a description of the basic treatment parameters
– a PEDro scale evaluation of the research [40,50,52] of
6 or higher
– the research compared an FR group with another FR/
SMR group, another treatment technique and/or a con-
In the last stage, the remaining articles were included
in the synthesis.
Fifty-ve of the 587 papers analysed met the criteria
for inclusion. This result suggests that there is not much
high quality research on the topic of rolling in the avail-
able literature. Most research in the databases consists
of overviews or commercial research, generally with no
scientic merit. After the initial selection, the next stage
involved evaluating the articles based on their research
Fig. 1. Data obtained from the articles included into the review. SMR – Self Myofascial Release, FR – Foam Rolling, PPT –
Pressure Pain Threshold, S&R – Sit and Reach test. In the ,,groups to compare” graphics, presented is the data describing
groups to which the baseline therapy (SMR or FR) was compared
The parameters of foam rolling: a review of the literature
methodology using the PEDro scale. Many papers were
rejected at this stage as well. The average PEDro score for
the selected papers was 6.4. When the article was given
a high PEDro score, but the authors did not include infor-
mation on the treatment parameters used, the paper was
also excluded from this literature review. The basic data of
papers included in the analysis are presented in Figure 1.
Most of the research papers described are from 2014
onwards (51 papers = 93%), of which as many as 37 papers
are from 2016–2018 (67%). The older works date from
2002 (1), 2008 (1), and 2013 (2). These statistics are evi-
dence of the growing popularity of the topic of myofascial
release using rollers, and that knowledge about the useful-
ness of this treatment has still not been systematized.
In 32 selected papers, the authors decided to use a foam
roller. Firm rollers made up 58% of the equipment used in
the research. Four authors (7%) chose the more comforta-
ble version of the roller (the pipe), which is long and made
of softer materials. Another four authors (7%) used hand
roller massagers, while three (6%) used a special stick to
roll the soft tissue. In ve papers (9%) different balls were
used (in each case, this was due to the paper being on the
release of the sole of the foot). In this last case, the authors
consistently used the term SMR rather than FR.
The groups used to compare results with the FR groups
were most often control groups (21 papers), other FR
groups (15), static stretching groups (5), combined treat-
ment groups (7), intense warm up (1) or a placebo (1).
In the set of SMR articles (papers in which tennis balls
were used for rolling), the results were compared to con-
trol groups (7). In eight papers, rolling was used in com-
bined treatment. For example, in one of them, an SS (static
stretching) group was compared with an FR + SS group,
while in another paper, groups which rolled using a roller
and a tennis ball were given the same treatment, but with
different application times . The most common no-
menclature is described in Figure 2.
In the clear majority of papers, statistical differences
between groups were sought mainly in the ROM – range
of motion (32 papers – 58%). Among the many remaining
parameters used to compare the results of SMR therapy,
the most common were MVC (maximal voluntary con-
traction – 24%), pain pressure threshold (22%) and EMG
parameters (electromyography – 15%).
In the papers included in this article, the most common
time values for a single rolling period were 30, 60 and 120
seconds. The authors usually choose “as much pressure as
possible”, or the subjective level of the participant’s pain
felt during therapy to determine the level of force applied
to the roller. The authors evaluated the value of the force
applied to the tissue in the case of applying the whole body
to the roller. In the case of the hamstrings group, depend-
ing on the place of measurement on the thigh, the percent-
age amounts for the role of the whole body mass ranged
from 25.44 ± 3.86% by the knee joint to 46.44 ± 4.7% by
the hip joint . The most commonly used number of
repetitions was one, two or three rolling sets during a treat-
ment session, separated usually with a 30-second break or
shorter. The authors noted the type of roller used in the
studies. It was found that harder rollers are more effective
in achieving myofascial release . Basic parameters of
papers included in the review are presented in Table 1.
In the interests of greater transparency, the authors
have decided to analyse the individual parameters in sepa-
Type of roller
Curran et al.  dedicated all of their paper to com-
paring two kinds of roller available on the market: the
hard version (MRR – Multilevel Rigid Roller), and the
Single event during which forces are applied to the tissues. Several repetitions/ rolls applied
with exact cadence, constitute one set/ application/ treatment.
Periods consisting of several repetitions/ rolls (see below) during which forces are applied to
the tissues with exact intensity (number and cadence of repetitions), separated by breaks.
Single therapeutic meeting with the patient.
Fig. 2. Due to the discrepancies in the literature associated with the course of therapeutic intervention, the most common
terminology was presented and explained to what the de nitions apply
P. Dębski et al.
soft version (BFR – Bio-Foam Roller). The researchers
found that a statistically signicantly stronger effect oc-
curred with the hard roller during three rolling periods on
the side of the thigh (the values expressed in kPa were al-
most twice as high). Also Cheatham and Stull  used
different types of roller. For range of motion they found
no statistically signicant differences between medium,
hard (both increased passive knee ROM by 8°) and soft
density roller (increased ROM by 7°). Similar results were
observed in pressure pain thresholds (PPT). There was
a post-intervention increase of 180 kPa (p < 0.001) for the
medium density roller, 175 kPa (p < 0.001) for the soft
density roller, and 151 kPa (p < 0.001) for the hard density
roller. Referring to the existing literature, the researchers
expressed the opinion that working on a given tissue with
greater force brings about a deeper, and so more thorough,
penetration of the tissue, more intensive stimulation of the
autonomic nervous system and a greater resulting relaxa-
tion, when compared to the softer equivalent . Other
authors note that it is best to assign conventional rollers
to inexperienced users, whilst if the application of a larger
dose of treatment is required, hard rollers should be used
Parameter Most common methodology Quantity of most common
Quantity of positive
Type of roller
Firm rollers 32 (58%) 25
Foot rollers 5 (9%) 3
Hand roller massagers 4 (7%) 4
The pipe 4 (7%) 4
Special sticks/poles 3 (6%) 3
Other 7 (13%) –
Force of rolling
AMAT 2 (4%) 2
AMAP 16 (29%) 15
TBW 2 (4%) 2
VAS scale 7/10 6 (10%) 3
Other 29 (53%) –
Duration of application
30 sec 17 (31%) 15
60 sec 18 (33%) 15
120 sec 14 (25%) 10
Other 6 (11%) –
Number of applications in
one treatment session
Single 26 (47%) 24
Three repetitions 16 (29%) 13
Other 13 (24%) –
Number of a treatment
One session 41 (74%) 33
Three sessions 5 (9%) 5
More than three sessions 7 (13%) 6
Other 2 (4%) –
Intensity of rolling
Short time (1-3 sec) 18 (33%) 16
Long time (3 sec +) 9 (16%) 7
Other 28 (51%) –
Length of break
No break 5 (9%) 4
Up to 30 sec 18 (33%) 17
60 sec 4 (7%) 2
Other 28 (51%) –
Table 1. Basic analysis of papers included to review. The most common parameters and methods used in papers has been
presented. Shortcuts: AMAT – As Much As Tolerable, AMAP – As Much As Possible, TBW – (Subject’s) Total Body Weight,
VAS – Visual Analogue Scale
The parameters of foam rolling: a review of the literature
. Bradbury-Squires et al.  and Sullivan et al. 
used programmed devices in their research, which on the
one hand allowed for the force used on the whole length
of the myofascial unit being treated to be uniform, while
on the other hand it reduced the practical value of the re-
search. In the case of treating difcult-to-reach surfaces
of small surface area, such as the sole of the foot, the use
of tools of an appropriate size appears to be justied. Dif-
ferent types of ball (tennis, golf, lacrosse) are tools of
this sort, and were used by some authors in their research
[20, 25, 45, 55, 69]. Macdonald et al.  used a polyvi-
nyl chloride pipe wrapped in 1 cm thick neoprene foam
in their research. In this way, it was possible to limit the
contact area of the roller with the body, and so increase the
application force on the areas being treated, while main-
taining a fairly high level of rmness. SMR carried out
with the constructed roller produced statistically signi-
cant changes in range of movement, of 4° to 20° 2 min-
utes after, and 3–17° 10 minutes after treatment . This
conrms the theory that release can take place supercial-
ly, but a therapeutically signicant effect demands work
with a greater force on deeper tissue [17, 65]. De Bruyne
et al.  point to the greater therapeutic value of the
hand roller, compared to the classic cylindrical foam roll-
er. Monteiro et al.  came to the opposite conclusion,
noting better results in each foam roller group compared
to the equivalent hand roller groups, but only the group
with 120-second treatment showed a statistically signi-
cant difference compared to its 60-second equivalent from
the hand roller group.
Force of application
The instructions on how strongly the research subjects
should be applied to the roller can be organized into two
groups. The rst of these is application with the greatest
possible force (AMAP – as much as possible), and the sec-
ond option is working with pressure not causing more dis-
comfort than 7 on a 10-point scale. Few studies used total
body weight (TBW) as a basic parameter but it probably
means that participants tried to place their entire weight at
the place of contact with the roller. In clinical treatment
of trigger points, pressure is applied up until the rst mo-
ment at which resistance turns into pain, and application is
maintained until the sensation is removed or signicantly
lessened, and then the new boundary between pain and
discomfort is sought . Pearcey et al.  were rst to
use the concept of taking the subjective sensations of the
patient as the upper limit of treatment, marking out the tol-
erance of the research subject (AMAT – as much as tolera-
ble). Bradbury-Squires et al.  suggested force amounting
to 25% of the body weight of the patient, while Sullivan et
al.  stood out by suggesting a uniform force of appli-
cation of 13 kg for all research participants. This kind of
approach helps to unify the methodological procedure, but,
bearing in mind the varied morphology (and personality)
of patients, it is justied only if the research group is very
uniform. During self-massage with a roller with one’s own
body weight (bearing one’s weight only on the contact point
with the roller), it is difcult to achieve any greater pres-
sure, meaning that the TBW and AMAP values are close
or even identical. For the same reason, in order to reduce
tension and pain at a particularly sensitive point when roll-
ing with constant pressure, keeping the roller in the place
where increased discomfort is felt is recommended. It is
worth emphasizing that rolling itself, like sports massage,
can lead to pain, micro-bleeding and inammation, which
can last for up to 24 hours .
In the light of the benets of applying pressure to tis-
sue, the question should be posed: is the curve represent-
ing the relationship between the effect of treatment and
the force of treatment directly proportional, or rather up to
what point is this the case? In other words, to what extent
will greater pressure on the tissue be reected in a greater
range of movement without damage to the tissue?
The authors suggest that directed pressure combined
with tensing or relaxing muscles can shape the length of
the sarcomeres and number of them (myobrillogenesis),
reducing pain as a result [64,74]. However, this is only
a scientic theory.
Duration of application
The times most commonly used by the authors were
30, 60 and 120 seconds. This is probably due to the fact
that manual techniques for fascial work with patients t
into these time intervals . However, none of the au-
thors specied which intervals were effective for manual
self-release techniques [4,68]. The second reason behind
these time values is certainly the fact that comparisons of
the therapeutic effect of FR/SMR and stretching are often
made [20, 34, 35, 44, 50, 62, 65, 75]. Macdonald et al.
 suggest using an application time of between 60 and
90 seconds. Patel et al.  lean towards the statement
that most research subjects obtain a therapeutic effect in
a time period that ranges between 60 and 120 seconds of
treatment. In opposition to this hypothesis, Couture et al.
 stated that a time period of less than 2 minutes is not
sufcient to obtain improvement in the range of movement
in the knee joint. Vigotsky et al.  and MacDonald et al.
 used two repetitions of 60 seconds in their studies.
Bushell et al.  used 60 seconds of rolling but repeated
this more frequently, both in terms of number of appli-
cations and number of treatment sessions. In these cases,
statistically signicant differences in the parameters under
examination were achieved compared to the control group.
In shorter times, a few authors also obtained positive re-
sults [24, 27, 65]. In recent studies there is a tendency to
roll a few groups of muscles called “regions”, one after an-
other [54, 69, 31, 22, 35, 39]. Also Cheatham et al. divided
P. Dębski et al.
the quadriceps muscle into two zones [8,11]. Despite the
short duration of application of one muscle group, positive
outcomes often occur. It may be caused by adding up ben-
ets of therapy of a few regions that are lying close to each
other. Especially the methodology described by Madoni
et al.  is worth citing. The authors divided hamstring
groups into three sections. Every application lasts for 10
seconds on one section. Myofascial release of all three
sections (10 seconds per section, 30 seconds in total) was
followed by a 10-second break. After that, the whole set
of rolling was repeated two more times. Very short dura-
tion of application in one section (30 seconds divided into
three sets) was enough to achieve a positive result.
In the context of this issue, the study by Sullivan et al.
 is very valuable, as the number of repetitions and their
duration were varied while the pressure and frequency of
rolling remained the same. An increase in range of move-
ment in the sit and reach test of 4.3% was observed in sub-
jects who rolled for 10 seconds, compared to those who
rolled for 5 seconds. The authors themselves point out that
this is not sufcient to draw conclusions, and that there is
a need to study the relationship between length and inten-
sity of treatment and effects obtained. Monteiro et al. 
also chose to compare the effects of treatment of different
durations. Their analysis indicates that treatments lasting
above 90 seconds produce better effects in improvement
of FMS (functional movement screen) “overhead deep
squat” than treatments lasting less than 90 seconds.
The results indicate that there is a relationship between
a greater duration of application and greater secretion of
cytokine and growth factor .
Number of applications in one treatment session
In terms of the number of rolling periods in one ses-
sion, the studies can be divided into two groups. The rst
is made up of studies in which the authors used a single
rolling set [8, 10, 16, 19, 22, 24, 29, 33, 38, 45, 53, 55, 57,
59, 68, 69, 73]. In the other studies, the values 2, 3, 4 and
5 appeared with similar frequency, with three rolling sets
being the most commonly chosen option [3, 5, 15, 23, 26,
35, 39, 46, 57, 62].
Number of treatment sessions
As many as 41 authors carried out their studies in one
treatment session. In the remaining studies, two [47,48,68]
or three [15, 33, 37, 38, 57] treatment sessions were used
as well. Seven researchers used a longer protocol. Six out
of these noted statistically signicant differences in their
treatments [3, 5, 31, 44, 47]. This is not necessarily the
result of the additive effects of subsequent sessions, since
many other authors reached statistical signicance despite
carrying out only one session. The signicance of the
number of treatment sessions parameter loses its signi-
cance in the context of the study by Kelly and Beardsley
, who noted a tendency for the effects of FR therapy to
be maintained only for up to 20 minutes.
Intensity of rolling
Due to their properties, fascia do not respond to short,
quick stimuli at high amplitude . Their thixotropic prop-
erties make them reminiscent of plasticine: when shaped
with appropriate force for a specied period of time they
change their structure signicantly. As a result, the use of
techniques that affect the fascia with low speed appears to
be justied. A classic example of a slow effect on soft tissue
is the widely used method of deep tissue massage, in which
the therapist reduces friction to a minimum.
The relatively slow rolling technique with a moderate
cadence is also attractive due to the more effective ow
of uids which are drawn mechanically by force of appli-
cation. Directed pressure through slow rolling and a uid
ow appear to be justied physiologically.
Despite the scientic theories in 30% of studies the au-
thors who described this parameter in their research meth-
odology used dynamic, one – to three-second movements
[7, 14, 22, 23, 24, 26, 27, 31, 35, 38, 44, 53, 54, 56, 62].
This means that the pressure from the roller moved through
the space from the beginning to the end of the treated area
in this time. Curran et al.  were one of the exceptions
to the rule, using 10-second repetitions when studying the
difference between rollers of various levels of hardness.
D’amico & Paolone  suggested a length of repetition
of 5 seconds. They did not obtain statistically signicant
differences in their research.
Morton et al.  suggested an entirely different meth-
odology, comparing the results of static stretching with the
same therapy preceded by four 60-second repetitions of
rolling. This long period of time turned out to be entire-
ly ineffective, and no statistically signicant differences
were found between the basic treatment and the treatment
enriched by SMR.
Length of break
The break between sessions in the studies usually
amounted up to 30 seconds (33% of studies). This short
break is due to the specic nature of the treatment, which
is associated with fast, short-term results [34, 65]. Addi-
tionally, it should be remembered that rolling is often not
an end in itself, but precedes or rounds off a training ses-
sion or a sporting competition. For this reason, competi-
tors cannot spend a long time rolling.
Summary and conclusion
The authors of the selected studies vary in terms of
methods they propose for myofascial release using a hand
roller or conventional roller. Nevertheless, the majority
The parameters of foam rolling: a review of the literature
use parameter values which are justied from a physiolog-
ical point of view. Using the treatment parameter values
described here does not guarantee therapeutic success, but
may be sufcient to obtain satisfactory results. In the fu-
ture, it will be necessary to specify what the mechanisms
of the application of myofascial release tools on soft tissue
are, in order make it easier to create a more precise treat-
ment programme, both for FR therapy and for all treat-
ments such as myofascial release.
The most desirable forms of treatment in terms of ther-
apeutic effect are treatments using a rmer type of roller,
with as great a force of application as possible (as tolerat-
ed by the patient) for a period of 30–120 seconds. The in-
tensity of a single rolling movement should be moderate,
and the movement should last about 3 seconds. Keeping
the roller on particularly sensitive areas is recommended.
During the course of one session, it is worth using between
1 and 3 applications, separated by a 30-second break. If
deeper therapeutic penetration of the tissue is needed,
a rmer version of the roller is recommended.
Conict of interest: Authors state no conict of interest.
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© University of Physical Education, Warsaw, Poland
This work was supported by the Academy of Physical
Education of Jerzy Kukuczka’s, Katowice, Poland.