Roller Massage: A Descriptive Survey of Allied Health Professionals

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
Restricted access

Purchase article

USD  $24.95

Student 1 year subscription

USD  $74.00

1 year subscription

USD  $99.00

Student 2 year subscription

USD  $141.00

2 year subscription

USD  $185.00

Background: In sports medicine, the interprofessional care of athletes has become a frequent practice. This type of care often involves different interventions used among professionals. One common intervention prescribed is roller massage (RM) or self-myofascial release. The trends in the use of RM among allied health professionals are nonexistent. The surveillance of such responses has not been documented. Purpose: To survey and document responses in the knowledge, clinical application, and use of RM devices among allied health professionals in the United States. Design: Cross-sectional descriptive survey study. Methods: A 20-question survey was sent to allied health professionals including physical therapists, athletic trainers, and fitness professionals. The survey covered topics such as demographics, beliefs about RM, preferred devices, exercise prescription, and client education. Results: One thousand and forty-two professionals (N = 1042) completed the survey. Most respondents believed that RM decreases pain (82%) and increases mobility (76%). A high percentage use a foam roller in their practice (81%), recommend a full-size foam roller (49%), and believe the medium density (48%) is the most effective. A high proportion of respondents prescribe RM for injury treatment (69%) and for preexercise and postexercise (61%). They also recommend rolling daily for 30 seconds to 2 minutes per muscle group (33%) at a self-paced cadence (46%). A high percentage of respondents use patient-reported outcomes (74%), joint range of motion (49%), and movement-based testing (48%) to measure effects of RM. Eighty-seven percent use live instruction to educate clients, and 88% believe there is a gap in the research. Conclusion: The results of this survey document responses in the use of RM among allied health professionals. The reported responses provide insight into how professionals are using RM as an intervention and the potential gaps between the research and professional practice. Future studies are needed to further validate these findings.

The author is with California State University Dominguez Hills, Carson, CA.

Cheatham (Scheatham@csudh.edu) is corresponding author.
  • 1.

    Pabian PS , Oliveira L , Tucker J , Beato M , Gual C . Interprofessional management of concussion in sport. Phys Ther Sport. 2017;23:123–132. PubMed ID: 27654807 doi:10.1016/j.ptsp.2016.09.006

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 2.

    Sauers ADL , Sauers EL , Valier ARS . Quality improvement in athletic health care. J Athl Train. 2017;52(11):1070–1078. doi:10.4085/1062-6050-52.10.15

  • 3.

    Welch Bacon CE , Erickson CD , Kay MC , Weber ML , Valovich McLeod TC . School nurses’ perceptions and experiences with an interprofessional concussion management team in the secondary school setting. J Interprof Care. 2017;31(6):725–733. PubMed ID: 28876140 doi:10.1080/13561820.2017.1345873

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 4.

    Sangaleti C , Schveitzer MC , Peduzzi M , Zoboli ELCP , Soares CB . Experiences and shared meaning of teamwork and interprofessional collaboration among health care professionals in primary health care settings: a systematic review. JBI Database System Rev Implement Rep. 2017;15(11):2723–2788. PubMed ID: 29135752 doi:10.11124/JBISRIR-2016-003016

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 5.

    Rizzo CS , Breitbach AP , Richardson R . Athletic trainers have a place in interprofessional education and practice. J Interprof Care. 2015;29(3):256–257. PubMed ID: 25070426 doi:10.3109/13561820.2014.942778

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 6.

    Arnold P , Gentry M . Strength training: what the team physician needs to know. Curr Sports Med Rep. 2005;4(6):305–308. PubMed ID: 16282031 doi:10.1097/01.CSMR.0000306291.82880.b5

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 7.

    Austin RR , Monsen KA , Schulz C . An informatics approach to interprofessional management of low back pain: a feasibility study using the Omaha System. J Innov Health Inform. 2017;24(3):268. PubMed ID: 29121852 doi:10.14236/jhi.v24i3.929

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 8.

    Beardsley C , Skarabot J . Effects of self-myofascial release: a systematic review. J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2015;19(4):747–758. PubMed ID: 26592233 doi:10.1016/j.jbmt.2015.08.007

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 9.

    Cheatham SW , Kolber MJ , Cain M , Lee M . The effects of self-myofascial release using a foam roll or roller massager on joint range of motion, muscle recovery, and performance: a systematic review. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2015;10(6):827–838. PubMed ID: 26618062

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 10.

    Su H , Chang NJ , Wu WL , Guo LY , Chu IH . Acute effects of foam rolling, static stretching, and dynamic stretching during warm-ups on muscular flexibility and strength in young adults. J Sport Rehabil. 2017;26(6):469–477. PubMed ID: 27736289 doi:10.1123/jsr.2016-0102

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 11.

    Fairall RR , Cabell L , Boergers RJ , Battaglia F . Acute effects of self-myofascial release and stretching in overhead athletes with GIRD. J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2017;21(3):648–652. PubMed ID: 28750979 doi:10.1016/j.jbmt.2017.04.001

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 12.

    Hodgson DD , Quigley PJ , Whitten JHD , Reid JC , Behm DG . Impact of 10-minute interval roller massage on performance and active range of motion [published online ahead of print November 16, 2017]. J Strength Cond Res. PubMed ID: 29189581 doi:10.1519/JSC.0000000000002271

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 13.

    Le Gal J , Begon M , Gillet B , Rogowski I . Effects of self-myofascial release on shoulder function and perception in adolescent tennis players [published online ahead of print September 27, 2017]. J Sport Rehabil. PubMed ID: 28952852 doi:10.1123/jsr.2016-0240

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 14.

    Grieve R , Goodwin F , Alfaki M , Bourton AJ , Jeffries C , Scott H . The immediate effect of bilateral self myofascial release on the plantar surface of the feet on hamstring and lumbar spine flexibility: a pilot randomised controlled trial. J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2015;19(3):544–552. PubMed ID: 26118527 doi:10.1016/j.jbmt.2014.12.004

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 15.

    Sullivan KM , Silvey DB , Button DC , Behm DG . Roller-massager application to the hamstrings increases sit-and-reach range of motion within five to ten seconds without performance impairments. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2013;8(3):228–236. PubMed ID: 23772339

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 16.

    DeBruyne DM , Dewhurst MM , Fischer KM , Wojtanowski MS , Durall C . Self-mobilization using a foam roller versus a roller massager: which is more effective for increasing hamstrings flexibility? J Sport Rehabil. 2017;26(1):94–100. PubMed ID: 27632826 doi:10.1123/jsr.2015-0035

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 17.

    Behara B , Jacobson BH . Acute effects of deep tissue foam rolling and dynamic stretching on muscular strength, power, and flexibility in division I linemen. J Strength Cond Res. 2017;31(4):888–892. PubMed ID: 26121431 doi:10.1519/JSC.0000000000001051

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 18.

    Monteiro ER , Cavanaugh MT , Frost DM , Novaes JD . Is self-massage an effective joint range-of-motion strategy? A pilot study. J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2017;21(1):223–226. PubMed ID: 28167184 doi:10.1016/j.jbmt.2016.10.003

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 19.

    Bushell JE , Dawson SM , Webster MM . Clinical relevance of foam rolling on hip extension angle in a functional lunge position. J Strength Cond Res. 2015;29(9):2397–2403. PubMed ID: 25734777 doi:10.1519/JSC.0000000000000888

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 20.

    Mohr AR , Long BC , Goad CL . Effect of foam rolling and static stretching on passive hip-flexion range of motion. J Sport Rehabil. 2014;23(4):296–299. PubMed ID: 24458506 doi:10.1123/JSR.2013-0025

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 21.

    Vigotsky AD , Lehman GJ , Contreras B , Beardsley C , Chung B , Feser EH . Acute effects of anterior thigh foam rolling on hip angle, knee angle, and rectus femoris length in the modified Thomas test. PeerJ. 2015;3:1281. PubMed ID: 26421244 doi:10.7717/peerj.1281

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 22.

    Murray AM , Jones TW , Horobeanu C , Turner AP , Sproule J . Sixty seconds of foam rolling does not affect functional flexibility or change muscle temperature in adolescent athletes. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2016;11(5):765–776. PubMed ID: 27757289

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 23.

    Cheatham SW , Kolber MJ , Cain M . Comparison of video-guided, live instructed, and self-guided foam roll interventions on knee joint range of motion and pressure pain threshold: a randomized controlled trial. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2017;12(2):242–249. PubMed ID: 28515979

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 24.

    Cheatham SW , Stull KR , Kolber MJ . Comparison of a vibrating foam roller and a non-vibrating foam roller intervention on knee range of motion and pressure pain threshold: a randomized controlled trial. J Sport Rehabil. 2017:1–23.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 25.

    Couture G , Karlik D , Glass SC , Hatzel BM . The effect of foam rolling duration on hamstring range of motion. Open Orthop J. 2015;9:450–455. PubMed ID: 26587061 doi:10.2174/1874325001509010450

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 26.

    Kelly S , Beardsley C . Specific and cross-over effects of foam rolling on ankle dorsiflexion range of motion. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2016;11(4):544–551. PubMed ID: 27525179

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 27.

    Skarabot J , Beardsley C , Stirn I . Comparing the effects of self-myofascial release with static stretching on ankle range-of-motion in adolescent athletes. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2015;10(2):203–212. PubMed ID: 25883869

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 28.

    Schroeder AN , Best TM . Is self myofascial release an effective preexercise and recovery strategy? A literature review. Curr Sports Med Rep. 2015;14(3):200–208. PubMed ID: 25968853 doi:10.1249/JSR.0000000000000148

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 29.

    Macdonald GZ , Button DC , Drinkwater EJ , Behm DG . Foam rolling as a recovery tool after an intense bout of physical activity. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2014;46(1):131–142. PubMed ID: 24343353 doi:10.1249/MSS.0b013e3182a123db

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 30.

    MacDonald GZ , Penney MD , Mullaley ME , et al. An acute bout of self-myofascial release increases range of motion without a subsequent decrease in muscle activation or force. J Strength Cond Res. 2013;27(3):812–821. PubMed ID: 22580977 doi:10.1519/JSC.0b013e31825c2bc1

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 31.

    Cavanaugh MT , Aboodarda SJ , Hodgson D , Behm DG . Foam rolling of quadriceps decreases biceps femoris activation. J Strength Cond Res. 2017;31(8):2238–2245. doi:10.1519/JSC.0000000000001625

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 32.

    Aboodarda SJ , Spence AJ , Button DC . Pain pressure threshold of a muscle tender spot increases following local and non-local rolling massage. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2015;16:265. PubMed ID: 26416265 doi:10.1186/s12891-015-0729-5

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 33.

    Cheatham SW , Baker R . Differences in pressure pain threshold among men and women after foam rolling. J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2017;21(4):978–982. PubMed ID: 29037655 doi:10.1016/j.jbmt.2017.06.006

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 34.

    Cheatham SW , Kolber MJ . Does roller massage with a foam roll change pressure pain threshold of the ipsilateral lower extremity antagonist and contralateral muscle groups? an exploratory study. J Sport Rehabil. 2018;27(2):165–169. doi:10.1123/jsr.2016-0196

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 35.

    D’Amico A , Paolone V . The effect of foam rolling on recovery between two eight hundred metre runs. J Hum Kinet. 2017;57:97–105.

  • 36.

    D’Amico AP , Gillis J . The influence of foam rolling on recovery from exercise-induced muscle damage [published online ahead of print September6, 2017]. J Strength Cond Res. PubMed ID: 28902111 doi:10.1519/JSC.0000000000002240

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 37.

    Grgic J , Mikulic P . Tapering practices of Croatian open-class powerlifting champions. J Strength Cond Res. 2017;31(9):2371–2378. PubMed ID: 27806009 doi:10.1519/JSC.0000000000001699

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 38.

    Rey E , Padron-Cabo A , Costa PB , Barcala-Furelos R . The effects of foam rolling as a recovery tool in professional soccer players [published online ahead of print October 7, 2017]. J Strength Cond Res. PubMed ID: 29016479 doi:10.1519/JSC.0000000000002277

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 39.

    Kalen A , Perez-Ferreiros A , Barcala-Furelos R , et al. How can lifeguards recover better? A cross-over study comparing resting, running, and foam rolling. Am J Emerg Med. 2017;35(12):1887–1891. PubMed ID: 28651888 doi:10.1016/j.ajem.2017.06.028

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 40.

    Ceca D , Elvira L , Guzman JF , Pablos A . Benefits of a self-myofascial release program on health-related quality of life in people with fibromyalgia: a randomized controlled trial. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2017;57(7–8):993–1002. PubMed ID: 28139112 doi:10.23736/S0022-4707.17.07025-6

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 41.

    Ajimsha MS , Al-Mudahka NR , Al-Madzhar JA . Effectiveness of myofascial release: systematic review of randomized controlled trials. J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2015;19(1):102–112. PubMed ID: 25603749 doi:10.1016/j.jbmt.2014.06.001

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 42.

    Dunne S , Cummins NM , Hannigan A , Shannon B , Dunne C , Cullen W . A method for the design and development of medical or health care information websites to optimize search engine results page rankings on Google. J Med Internet Res. 2013;15(8):e183. PubMed ID: 23981848 doi:10.2196/jmir.2632

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 43.

    Cavanaugh MT , Doweling A , Young JD , et al. An acute session of roller massage prolongs voluntary torque development and diminishes evoked pain. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2017;117(1):109–117. PubMed ID: 27853885 doi:10.1007/s00421-016-3503-y

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 44.

    Young JD , Spence AJ , Behm DG . Roller massage decreases spinal excitability to the soleus. J Appl Physiol. 2018;124(4):950–959. PubMed ID: 29357488 doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.00732.2017

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 45.

    Romero-Moraleda B , La Touche R , Lerma-Lara S , et al. Neurodynamic mobilization and foam rolling improved delayed-onset muscle soreness in a healthy adult population: a randomized controlled clinical trial. PeerJ. 2017;5:e3908. PubMed ID: 29043110 doi:10.7717/peerj.3908

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 46.

    Grabow L , Young JD , Byrne JM , Granacher U , Behm DG . Unilateral rolling of the foot did not affect non-local range of motion or balance. J Sports Sci Med. 2017;16(2):209–218. PubMed ID: 28630574

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 47.

    Grabow L , Young JD , Alcock LR , et al. Higher quadriceps roller massage forces do not amplify range of-motion increases or impair strength and jump performance [published online ahead of print March 13, 2017]. J Strength Cond Res. doi:10.1519/JSC.0000000000001906

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 48.

    Cheatham SW . Comparison of three different density type foam rollers on knee range of motion and pressure pain threshold: a randomized controlled trial. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2018;13(3):474-482. doi:10.26603/ijspt20180474

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 49.

    Lee M , Kim M , Oh S , et al. A self-determination theory-based self-myofascial release program in older adults with myofascial trigger points in the neck and back: a pilot study. Physiother Theory Pract. 2017;33(9):681–694. PubMed ID: 28715296 doi:10.1080/09593985.2017.1345024

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 50.

    Bradbury-Squires DJ , Noftall JC , Sullivan KM , Behm DG , Power KE , Button DC . Roller-massager application to the quadriceps and knee-joint range of motion and neuromuscular efficiency during a lunge. J Athl Train. 2015;50(2):133–140. PubMed ID: 25415414 doi:10.4085/1062-6050-49.5.03

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 51.

    Junker DH , Stoggl TL . The foam roll as a tool to improve hamstring flexibility. J Strength Cond Res. 2015;29(12):3480–3485. PubMed ID: 25992660 doi:10.1519/JSC.0000000000001007

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 52.

    Madoni SN , Costa PB , Coburn JW , Galpin AJ . Effects of foam rolling on range of motion, peak torque, muscle activation, and the hamstrings-to-quadriceps strength ratios. J Strength Cond Res. 2018;32(7):1821–1830. PubMed ID: 29401195 doi:10.1519/JSC.0000000000002468

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 53.

    Hotfiel T , Swoboda B , Krinner S , et al. Acute effects of lateral thigh foam rolling on arterial tissue perfusion determined by spectral Doppler and power Doppler ultrasound. J Strength Cond Res. 2017;31(4):893–900. PubMed ID: 27749733 doi:10.1519/JSC.0000000000001641

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 54.

    Monteiro ER , Neto VG . Effect of different foam rolling volumes on knee extension fatigue. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2016;11(7):1076–1081. PubMed ID: 27999722

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 55.

    Mikesky AE , Bahamonde RE , Stanton K , Alvey T , Fitton T . Acute effects of The Stick on strength, power, and flexibility. J Strength Cond Res. 2002;16(3):446–450. PubMed ID: 12173961

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 56.

    Markovic G . Acute effects of instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization vs. foam rolling on knee and hip range of motion in soccer players. J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2015;19(4):690–696. PubMed ID: 26592226 doi:10.1016/j.jbmt.2015.04.010

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 57.

    Jay K , Sundstrup E , Sondergaard SD , et al. Specific and cross over effects of massage for muscle soreness: randomized controlled trial. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2014;9(1):82–91. PubMed ID: 24567859

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 58.

    Pearcey GE , Bradbury-Squires DJ , Kawamoto JE , Drinkwater EJ , Behm DG , Button DC . Foam rolling for delayed-onset muscle soreness and recovery of dynamic performance measures. J Athl Train. 2015;50(1):5–13. PubMed ID: 25415413 doi:10.4085/1062-6050-50.1.01

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 59.

    Fleckenstein J , Wilke J , Vogt L , Banzer W . Preventive and regenerative foam rolling are equally effective in reducing fatigue-related impairments of muscle function following exercise. J Sports Sci Med. 2017;16(4):474–479. PubMed ID: 29238246

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 60.

    Morales-Artacho AJ , Lacourpaille L , Guilhem G . Effects of warm-up on hamstring muscles stiffness: cycling vs foam rolling. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2017;27(12):1959–1969. PubMed ID: 28124382 doi:10.1111/sms.12832

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 61.

    de Souza A , Sanchotene CG , da Silva Lopes CM , et al. Acute effect of two self-myofascial release protocols on hip and ankle range of motion. J Sport Rehabil. 2017:1–21. doi:10.1123/jsr.2017-0114

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 62.

    Monteiro ER , Skarabot J , Vigotsky AD , Brown AF , Gomes TM , Novaes JD . Acute effects of different self-massage volumes on the FMS™ overhead deep squat performance. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2017;12(1):94–104. PubMed ID: 28217420

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 155 155 33
Full Text Views 18 18 4
PDF Downloads 12 12 1