We have previously written on the effectiveness of foam rolling as a warm up or cool down technique, as well as, a treatment for muscle pain and soreness. Utilizing a foam roller for 1-2 minutes on major muscle groups can lead to immediate changes in range of motion and flexibility likely due to improvements in our tolerance to stretch. New research on foam rolling is investigating the interventions impact on our circulation.
Researchers in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research recently conducted a trial to investigate the effects of foam rolling on arterial circulation (Hotfiel et al. 2017). The authors recruited 21 healthy participants whose circulation was assessed using doppler ultrasound both before and after foam rolling their thigh. As expected, participants demonstrated improved tissue blow flow and circulation after foam rolling compared to their baseline testing. These changes were noted immediately and 30 minutes after the foam rolling session. In addition to the stretch tolerance theory linked above, this study adds further evidence on the physiological benefits of foam rolling.