Beyond foam rollers: Movement therapists reduce tight muscles with new technique

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Movement therapists look beyond foam rollers as new techniques are developed to relieve tight muscles. (KABC)

The sensation gained from Crunch gym's Motus class has been described as delicious, as students hit a few sweet spots.

Instructor Saharah Ali teaches the class that provides cardio, then onto what they call cleaning up connective tissue.

"We live in a society where we are constantly sitting, slumped over, and so what this class does is it opens up all these spaces and helps remove the stagnant energy that's there," said Ali.

In the class, students take the Rad ball and put it under a trigger point.

That can often be pretty painful, so some use two Rad balls to ease the pain.

"Using the two of them was a lot better for me because I do have a lot of muscle, and the density of this does trigger those really deep," said Crunch trainer Shawn Russell.

After assessing, Russell saw an inch and a half difference in leg length and flexibility.

"There are lots of little tools out there that can help you pretty much unwind yourself from inside out and outside in," explained fitness expert Jill Miller.

Miller, who has been teaching myofascia release for 28 years, said the foam roller was first to alleviate tight spots called trigger points.

But balls of various strengths and density are better to break up tight, tense muscle and connective tissue called fascia that encases muscles and joints.

"It is interwoven in every single muscle in your body," said Miller.

Her book, "The Roll Model," helps people who over-exercise and those who are inactive to learn the proper technique of myofascia.

Releasing trigger points in one area of the body can affect another area. Miller said for example, a soft ball and breathing technique on the belly can relieve back pain.

"We have ways of addressing the abdominal layers that are your lower-back layers," said Miller.

A minute or two on a given area can release headache, shoulder tension, tight calves and more, increasing blood flow and range of motion.

"You feel this work instantly, in your mood, you feel it in your ability to breathe more deeply to let go to relax," said Miller.

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