You lie on the roller for five minutes a day, and in a month you get a beautiful posture and a healthy back – it looks like a fairy tale, right? But this is exactly what the method of the Japanese doctor Toshiki Fukutsuji promises. What is its essence and how to lie on a back cushion?
Back roller: what is it for?
It is a small, quite stiff roller with a diameter of 7 to 9 cm and a length of about 30 to 40 cm, the construction of which was invented (and trained with it) by the Japanese physician Toshiki Fukutsuji after long spine examinations.
Toshiki Fukutsuji looked for an answer to why people “lose” their height with age, and concluded that it was caused by wear of the intervertebral discs. Cartilage loses moisture over the years, it becomes smaller, the vertebrae “get closer” to each other. There are protrusions and hernias (often associated with pain), the spine appears to “constrict” and the person becomes slightly shorter. To slow down this process, Fukutsuji invented rolling and simple gymnastics.
Lying on the roller, you gently stretch the spine and thus improve the nutrition of the intervertebral discs. Regular use of the roller helps rebuild deformed discs, stretch the spine and start the activation process in the cartilage. The result that the inventor of the method promises is a beautiful posture (reduced ironing), a healthy spine.
But is it really so?
Roller for the back: pitfalls and limits
In general, experts have a positive attitude towards all methods of self-massage (and the roller is one of these tools). Self-massage is a useful, necessary and, above all, very affordable procedure. He can use various aids, including a roller. With self-massage, the person himself regulates the force of the impact and the duration. The roller has a stretching effect when working with the spine and acupressure when working with soft tissue. As with the massage, it is best to do this at least two hours after eating.
There are also contraindications to the use of the roller – a lot depends on your state of health. If a healthy person lies on a roller, the effect will most likely be positive. The roller is placed under the lower back or the shoulder blades, this improves the clearance of the thoracic region. But if a person with serious pathologies of the musculoskeletal system is on the roller, this can only aggravate the situation. For example, a person with strong spinal curves, with a pronounced arch. If he mechanically tries to remove his stoop with this roller, then in fact he “does not straighten it”, but “bends” the spine even more, aggravates the condition.
So, in the presence of diseases of the spine and confirmed diagnoses, lying on the roller should be done with caution or not at all. It’s easy to check: lie down on a small-diameter roller (we’ll explain how to do this later), listen to your feelings. Are you feeling severe discomfort or pain? Alas, this technique does not suit you.
Also, you should not lie on the roller if your back hurts and neurological symptoms are present – it “pulls” in the limbs, they become numb, etc. If there is an inflammation of the nerve root and we act on it with a massage (and the roller is a kind of massage technique), then the swelling will be even stronger, the situation can get worse.
In case of such symptoms, you should consult a doctor. In other cases, the roller can be a good prevention of degenerative joint diseases.
How to choose a roller
You can buy a ready-made roll (available in healthcare). If you have never done fukutsuji gymnastics, choose models that are small in diameter and not too stiff. Have you ever tried the therapeutic “lie”? You can afford a thicker and stiffer roll.
You can also “bake” the roll yourself: roll a wide bath towel into a tight roll and fix it with adhesive tape at the edge. You should get a roll about 40 cm long, adjust the diameter yourself: for beginners it is recommended to take rolls 7-8 cm wide, for more experienced “lying” – from 9 to 12 cm, gradually increasing the degree of stretching raise the spine.
How to lie on the back cushion
The roller is only effective when properly used. There are two ways to place the roller behind your back: across the spine in the lumbar region or under the shoulder blades. Choose your option based on the location of the medical condition and your goals. If you have a slight arch or pain in the shoulder blades, place them under the shoulder blades. Lower back problems? Place the roller under your lower back.
Here’s the correct scheme for placing your body on the roller: put the roller on the mat, sit with your back to it, straighten your legs. Gently lower your body to the floor so that your back (lower back or shoulder blades) is firmly against the roller. Reach your arms behind your head, place your palms on the floor so that your fingers are “facing” forward and your little fingers are touching.
Stretch your legs and place your feet hip-width apart so that your big toes are touching and your heels are apart. Allow your body to get used to this position, relax, watch the clock – the first sessions should be no more than three minutes. Then you can “apply” five minutes by gradually increasing the time (one minute a week) to 10-12 minutes.
You also need to end the session correctly: first, gently move your arms forward and place them along your body. Then gently roll over to your side and bend your knees. Lie down in this position for a minute or two, allowing your spine to adjust. Then take the baby position: rest your stomach on your hips, straighten your arms and rest your forehead on the floor. Stay in this position for another 40-50 seconds. Then slowly take an upright position. Avoid sudden movements and heavy lifting for the first 1-2 hours after the roller skating session – they can damage your spine.
Important! If you experience throbbing pain or intense discomfort after inserting the roller, the Fukutsuji method is not for you. Consult a doctor, examine the spine – you may have abnormalities in the functioning of the joints. “Without thinking” lying on a roller may worsen the course of the disease.
In conclusion, lying on your back on a roll of towel is an exercise that can only be done in the absence of severe spinal dysfunction. If you do everything correctly, it will improve your posture and well-being in the future. But miracles like express weight loss (which some people expect) should not be expected from a roller – this practice does not affect the fat burning process, etc.