Acute effects of self-myofascial release using a foam roller on arterial function

J Strength Cond Res. 2014 Jan;28(1):69-73. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31829480f5.


Flexibility is associated with arterial distensibility. Many individuals involved in sport, exercise, and/or fitness perform self-myofascial release (SMR) using a foam roller, which restores muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, and/or soft-tissue extensibility. However, the effect of SMR on arterial stiffness and vascular endothelial function using a foam roller is unknown. This study investigates the acute effect of SMR using a foam roller on arterial stiffness and vascular endothelial function. Ten healthy young adults performed SMR and control (CON) trials on separate days in a randomized controlled crossover fashion. Brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity (baPWV), blood pressure, heart rate, and plasma nitric oxide (NO) concentration were measured before and 30 minutes after both SMR and CON trials. The participants performed SMR of the adductor, hamstrings, quadriceps, iliotibial band, and trapezius. Pressure was self-adjusted during myofascial release by applying body weight to the roller and using the hands and feet to offset weight as required. The roller was placed under the target tissue area, and the body was moved back and forth across the roller. In the CON trial, SMR was not performed. The baPWV significantly decreased (from 1,202 ± 105 to 1,074 ± 110 cm·s-1) and the plasma NO concentration significantly increased (from 20.4 ± 6.9 to 34.4 ± 17.2 μmol·L-1) after SMR using a foam roller (both p < 0.05), but neither significantly differed after CON trials. These results indicate that SMR using a foam roller reduces arterial stiffness and improves vascular endothelial function.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Ankle
  • Blood Pressure
  • Brachial Artery / physiology
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiology*
  • Fascia / physiology*
  • Female
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Massage / instrumentation
  • Massage / methods*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Nitric Oxide / blood
  • Pulse Wave Analysis
  • Vascular Stiffness / physiology*
  • Young Adult


  • Nitric Oxide