Should I use a foam roller

I’ve been getting more people ask if they should use a foam roller and given the growing popularity, I thought it worthwhile discussing weather you might need one or not.

First off. Foam rolling is a form of releasing muscles that people have been doing for thousands of years. It essentially works out to being quite similar to if you get a massage, osteopathic treatment or other form of muscular release.  The fancy term for it is a myofascial release.  This means you are releasing the muscles and fascia (a type of connective tissue).  You are also influencing the circulatory and nervous systems.

The technical side of things: there are 4 types of mechanoreceptors in fascia – Golgi, Pacini, Ruffini and Interstitial.  Golgi receptors typically respond most to strong stretch, pacini to rapid changes in pressures and vibration, Ruffini to sustained pressure and lateral stretch and Interstitial which are stimulated by both rapid changes to pressure and sustained pressure.  It is the stimulation of these receptors with foam rolling that will release and relax the muscle

  1. Do I need a Foam Roller

No, Definitely not.  Though a foam roller may make it easier for you to achieve your goals, the ultimate goal is pressure and movement on the muscles in a controlled and consistent way.  Some people may use golf or tennis balls to achieve the same goals.  I’ve had clients come in to see me as an osteopath in Diamond creek who haven’t wanted to buy a foam roller and instead used a wooden rolling pin from their kitchen.  One individual who was limited in movement and had a walking stick as a mobility aid used the walking stick while sitting down and watching TV.  Use your imagination (and common sense) if you want to get started but don’t want to buy a foam roller.

What i will say though, is that a medium density foam roller can be very good for certain areas of the body where you don’t want as much pressure.  The firm rollers with spikes/knobs can be much to sore for many.

2. How much pressure should i use

How much pressure do you like with a massage?  As i mentioned before foam rolling will affect the nervous system, if your body feels under attack (like the first time you roll out the outside of your leg/ITB’s) it will likely tighten up and you won’t get as much benefit.  You will also increase the chance of pulling up quite tender afterwards.

If you feel like using it on the floor with your body weight is too much pressure, try doing it against a wall, or if you have a willing helper, lie down and get them to move the foam roller over you.

3. How long should I do it for

Typically I recommend doing each region or muscle group for approximately 30-60 seconds.  However if you have a spot that is especially tight/knotted, or you are trying to achieve specific goals with that region, you can roll for about 2-3 minutes.

4. Can I use my foam roller for other things

Aside from using it to have roller fights with your friends, there are a few alternative uses for it (depending on size, density etc).

  • Lying the roller on the floor and standing on it, can be a great way to work on your proprioception and balance.  This of course won’t work for the cheaper rollers with a hollow core (trust me they break).
  • As mentioned, you can get a family member or friend to roll out your muscles for you. This is particularly helpful in hard to roll places such as your lats (latissimus dorsi is your main arm abductor, and can be rolled out on the outside/back of your rib cage).

If unsure you can talk to a trusted health professional such as an osteopath, or other professionals who have an interest in these types of things like a massage therapist (Angie at Good Health Osteopathy Diamond Creek is excellent), personal trainer or physiotherapist etc.


Good Health Osteopathy Diamond Creek
Dr. Luke Richter (Osteopath) and Angie Richter (Massage)
329-347 Diamond Creek Road, Diamond Creek 3089
Providing massage and osteopathic treatment for those in Diamond Creek, Greensborough, Eltham, Hurstbridge and surrounding suburbs.



End those Winter Blues – Start Exercising now

It’s getting towards the end of winter, and time to start thinking about coming out of hibernation. Not in the literal sense of course, most of us have still been working long days, taking children to school and sporting events and socialising with whatever energy is left.

What most of us don’t do through winter however, is maintain good exercise routines, stretch often and take care of ourselves physically. Rainy and cold days often provide a good excuse not to go out for that walk, and the dog is often just as happy to stay inside as you are.

Now that the days are beginning to get a little longer and there is light at the end of the proverbial tunnel is a great time to muster up some motivation to start back into exercise. Just a few tips before starting back into exercise though.

  1. Stretch before starting your new exercise

If you are thinking about starting exercise to prepare yourself for the coming summer and beach days, start to stretch NOW. By starting your stretching routine a week or two before your exercise routine you can help with a little flexibility and mobility. As an Osteopathy often seeing patients in South Morang, Doreen, Diamond Creek and Greensborough – I frequently need to suggest stretching programs. These aren’t special exercises that you can only learn when coming for an appointment, they are often the basics you’ve learnt in school. Stretching your legs for activities that require walking/running. Stretching shoulders for people who are stuck behind a desk etc.

  1. Start gradually/slowly

Most people have been struck with sudden motivation to exercise. Running is a great example: First you go out and buy new runners (or dust off the runners you’ve gotten from the last time you started running). Next perhaps you download a running app on your phone so you can track distance and time. Mentally you plot out your course and typically overestimate your fitness levels so will aim for a 3-5km round trip. On goes the shoes, out the front door and away you run. You might get to the end of the 500m – 1km before breathing like a wounded animal and having to stop running for a breather, before starting off again just before you fully regain your breathe.

If this is anything like you in the past, perhaps this year try to start a bit slower, walk for the distance you plan to jog, and slowly increasing your pace with some rest days in-between walks/jogs/runs.

Very frequently jumping head first into a challenging running program will result in injury, time off exercise and perhaps a need to visit your local Osteopath.

  1. Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated.

Winter and dehydration can often go together. Feeling cold in your body doesn’t often kick up the thirst drive like it does in the middle of summer and getting in the 1.5-2.5 Litres a day can be very challenging. Often when you are sedentary while working it may not be a major issue, however when you start exercising and sweating this mild dehydration can lead to increased aches and pains, headaches and poor recovery.

Exercising without adequate hydration is like running your car without oil. Don’t be that person!

If you want to discuss anything written feel free to contact Good Health Osteopathy Diamond Creek

Dr. Luke Richter (osteopath)

Good Health Osteopathy

5B 329-347 Diamond Creek Road,

Diamond Creek

Good Health Osteopathy – Quality health care commonly servicing patients from Diamond Creek, Greensborough, Doreen, and Eltham


Babies and flat sports

Here at Good Health Osteopathy Diamond Creek, I see a range of different patients from varying ages and conditions.  A common reason for parents to bring young babies in for assessment and treatment is the appearance of a Flat spot, or the head not being symmetrical.

Amy Leung recently wrote an article on it which gives a bit more information about it  Babies and Flat spots.

I feel the benefits of Osteopathic treatment can be many.

First, it provides another point of contact for someone in the health industry to ask questions about your child.  Some questions are best answered by your maternal health nurse, and others your GP, but some can be answered at a consultation.

Second, a thorough assessment of your child, looking for areas of tightness or restriction.  With training and experience, I can identify which areas are likely ‘niggles’ and typically resolve as your child ages, and which ones are atypical and (in my opinion) would benefit treatment through gentle massage, stretching and other indirect techniques.

Finally, general advice.  As part of my osteopathic course, and with additional training after graduating (combined with having a young child of my own). I may be able to offer suggestions or tips which may help with your child.

So if you are looking for an osteopath in Diamond Creek, near Greensborough, St. Helena, Yarrambat and Eltham. Please feel free to call on 0434001470 or email at goodhealthosteo@gmail.com to discuss how i might be able to help your child.

Dr. Luke Richter (Osteopath)

Good Health Osteopathy Diamond Creek

5B 329-347 Diamond Creek Rd, Diamond Creek

Commonly servicing: Diamond Creek, Greensborough, Eltham, Hurstbridge