We are strong advocates for foam folling; we have long been convinced of the health benefits and we promote using foam rollers to recover faster and improve flexibility.
There is plenty of research to back up our conviction too. This study, for example, suggests that foam folling can reduce muscle soreness (when used after a workout) whilst improving short-term flexibility when used beforehand.
Body rolling (ActiveRoll) machines combine the healing effect of foam rolling at scale and by the intervention of machinery. It is a full body self automated and contactless lymphatic drainage massage to burn calories, reduce cellulite and improve circulation
The salon’s machines feature a large cylinder with knotted, wooden bars all around it, which rotate as you lean into the device, putting pressure on your muscles to help free up and loosen your connective tissue (fascia).
The cylinders also contain an infrared light which adds some warmth to the experience and may improve recovery. (This is the same type of light technology behind infraRed saunas, which are said to reduce joint and muscle pain and improve blood circulation).
Benefits of a Body Roll Machine
- Flush out toxins – a full body lymphatic drainage massage that encourages the movement of lymph fluids. This helps the removals of waste and toxins from tissues
- Releasing sore muscles – myofascial release with infrared to penetrate the deeper layers of skin to reduce inflammation and pain relief
- Reducing cellulite – the lymphatic massage helps reduce cellulite and improve circulation and muscle tone. Reputed to burn 600 calories in one session
- No touch massage – no other human is involved. Everything is guded by the machine with a number of settings and intensity (useful in the era of Covid)
- Strengthen the immune system – detoxing at a cellular level with lymphatic drainage.
Some of these reputed benefits of body rolling machines are as yet unproven by science (at least as far as I have discovered from my desk research), but do sound promising. In particular, lymphatic drainage (the purging of lactic acid, etc) is very useful.
But for me, a firm believer in the benefits of foam rolling and myofascial release, a body roll is all about loosening up muscles and joints pre-exercise and then relieving them and reducing soreness post-workout.
Using a Body Roll Machine
The salon recommends clients begin with ten regular sessions to achieve best results.
The studio suggests repeating a 45 minute roller massage procedure 2-3 times a week during the initial course, before dropping down to one per week.
One session is 45 minutes long during which the machines are set up with 15 special 3 minute positions focusing on different areas and muscle groups according to the principles of lymphatic massage.
A monitor shows videos of how to position yourself work each body part, and there is a control pad which will alert you when it is time to switch positions.
Men are recommended to wear long workout pants and gym shirt; women, long leggings and fitted activewear. No zippers or jewellery is allowed due to the risk of catching in the machine.
Can you use a machine roller whilst pregnant or breastfeeding?
This is not recommened. A machine roller massage is considerably stronger than a regular masssage, many times so.
So if pregnant, you should definitely avoid.
Should you be breastfeeding, I would also give it a wide berth.
It is not prohibited for breastfeeding mothers, but seeing that you will likely be stimulating the movement of toxins and tissue waste material ound the body, there is a chance that you will affect your breast milk.
Instead, revert back to your standard foam roller for loosening up your fascia or connective tissue.
What results can you expect from a body roll machine roller?
Talking to people who’ve tried these machines the general consensus is that they are an enjoyable experience. That blessed massage feeling of quietened mind and relaxed body is achieved.
To get the best outcome ensure that you do receive a full rundown from a staff member before starting your sessions. You do have to vary your body position to comfortably add pressure and work each muscle group, and being shown hints on how to do this beforehand is advised.
Some people have reported mild bruising as well as soreness in the days following. This should not be seen as a surprise, particularly if you’re the type of person who tends to push through discomfort to really ‘knead’ aching and sore areas.
If you are a runner, hiker or long-distance walker, be sure to massage your feet. The feeling is “fabulous”, apparently.
And there is that pleasure vs pain dichotomy that often comes when you go hard on a tender area with a percussion/massage gun or a hard foam roller. You like, you hate it; it’s pleasurable and yet painful…
Next time I’m in Perth, I’m absolutely going to invest in a session to assist my middle-aged and fatigued muscles post-workout. I owe it to my body 😉