MomThis post was suppose to go out on last thursday, but I got so caught up with studying for finals and then work hit this past weekend that I completely forgot to put the finishing touches on and post it. I know complete and utter failure! Oh well better late than never. By the way hope everyone had a fantastic mother's day. I hope you told your mom how much you appreciate her and all the things she does for you. I spent my mother's day hanging out with family and friends, and of course awesome food!

It's getting to be that time and I got to be getting ready for my shift at the hospital soon so let's get to this week's study of the week.

Foam rolling is all the rage currently. Every where you go and in any gym you frequent you will see some one laying on top of a circular object and wiggling their body across this object while making the most obnoxious facial expressions. Which is absolutely awesome even if most people are doing it a bit to fast and with too little purpose.

Foam rolling offers benefits of active release therapy, but the flexibility of being able to perform it on yourself when ever you have time. It improves soft tissue quality by reducing scar tissue and adhesions. Thus this will improve the function of the tissue. To read more on why we foam roll click here.

Anyway the benefits from foam rolling make it an absolute necessary addition to anyone's training. This week's study actually introduces a new possible benefit to foam rolling that had previously not been documented. This study is not completely conclusive, but it does add promise that future research in this area could validate foam rolling as an intervention for arteriosclerosis. And now to dive into the actual literature.


Acute Effects of Self-Myofascial Release Using a Foam Roller on Arterial Function by Okamoto, Masuhara, and Ikuta

published ahead of print in Journal of Strength and Conditioning Reseach


Stiff arteries place you at risk for a cardiovascular episode because of the increased systolic blood pressure created by the stiff arteries. This stiffness can be influenced by vascular endothelial cell function.

These cells affect vascular activity by secreting vasoactive compounds such as Nitric Oxide. The study is interested in examining the effects of foam rolling on arterial stiffness and vascular endothelial function.

Materials and Methods

To explore the effects of foam rolling on arterial stiffness and vascular endothelial function the researchers recruited 10 healthy, yet sedentary adults. 7 of these subjects were male and 3 were female. Researchers established two conditions: one group performed self-myofascial release and the other group did not. The self myofascial release group rolled the adductors, hamstrings, quadriceps, and illiotibial band and upper back. All ten subjects performed both conditions on separate days in a randomized, cross-over design. The two conditions were performed three days apart.

The researchers measured brachial ankle pulse wave velocity and plasma nitric oxide concentration both before and 30 mins after both conditions while the subjects were lying supine.


Researchers found that brachial pulse wave velocity significantly decreased after the SMR with a foam roller. But noted that brachial ankle pulse wave velocity did not change following the control condition Researchers then noted that the difference between the two groups was significant.

Researchers also found that plasma nitric oxide concentration significantly increased after the SMR with foam roller. But the plasma nitric oxide concentration in the control condition showed no significant change.


Researchers concluded that following SMR with a foam roller, arterial stiffness decreased  acutely, as measured by the pulse wave velocity, as well as the plasma nitric oxide concentration significantly increased. Based on this conclusion the researchers propose that self myofascial release with a foam roller is able to reduce arterial stiffness, improve arterial function, and improve vascular endothelial function in sedentary subjects.

Take Away

While this study was limited by the fact that is only looked at the acute effect of SMR with a foam roller and that it was compared to no other treatment, it still sheds light on to a almost non existent field of research. This will hopefully prompt larger, longer, and comparative studies regarding SMR and it's effect on arterial stiffness and function. But in the mean time we can at least state that foam rolling helps acutely reduce the stiffness of arteries. Which may mean that if you have a history of arteriosclerosis, a few sessions a day on the foam roller may help you enjoy life longer and with more gusto!

Practical, Purposeful, Effective Training