Best Self-Myofascial Release Tools Share on Pinterest

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Tired of waking up feeling sore? Does your body ache after every workout?

Allow us to introduce myofascial release, a technique in which pressure is applied to the fascia — the connective tissue that surrounds every muscle in your body — in the hopes of relieving pain and increasing range of motion (1, 2).

How does it work? While more research is needed, it’s suggested that applying pressure to the fascia helps elongate the muscle tissue, making it less tight and painful (3, 4).

Therefore, the goal of self-myofascial release products is to help reduce the amount of pain and tension you feel in a specific area of your body, such as your shoulders or legs (2, 3, 4).

While some products cover a larger surface area, others may help break up muscle knots — also known as trigger points.

We compiled a list of the best myofascial release tools to fit a variety of needs using the following criteria:

  • Versatility: We looked for products that can be used on multiple parts of your body or offer varying levels of pressure.
  • Durability: We know you want a tool that will hold up over time, which is why all the products below are well-regarded for their durability and quality.
  • Ease of use: We looked for products designed to be easy to use and comfortable to hold.
  • Warranty: Especially for more expensive tools, the warranty of each product factored into our decision.
  • Price: We know budgets can differ, so we included options at a variety of price points.
  • Customer reviews: All the tools on this list have mostly positive customer reviews.

Just keep in mind that it’s important to talk with a healthcare professional before using a myofascial release tool.

In addition to clearing you for the use of these items, a professional can show you how to use them correctly and recommend the best product to fit your needs.

Here are the 10 best myofascial release tools of 2022.

A note on price

General price ranges with dollar signs ($–$$$) are indicated below. One dollar sign means the product is rather affordable, whereas four dollar signs indicate a higher cost.

Generally, prices range from $21.95–$399, though this may vary depending on where you shop.

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $50
  • $$ = $50–$100
  • $$$ = $101–$140
  • $$$$ = over $140

Best foam roller

TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller

  • Price: $
  • Bottom line: a moderately priced foam roller with a varied surface to provide a deep-tissue massage for your legs or back

Foam rolling is a popular self-myofascial release technique designed to improve blood flow and ease muscle soreness and tightness.

Because they target a larger area than other myofascial release tools, foam rollers are commonly used on the legs and back.

While some are smooth, others, like this roller from TriggerPoint, have bumps and ridges to provide deeper and more intense pressure.

In addition to being lightweight and easy to use, this grid roller is available in several bright colors (neon orange, anyone?) and includes access to free online instructional videos.

What’s more, it supports users of varying sizes, with a max weight capacity 500 pounds (lbs.), or 226.8 kilograms (kg).

One thing to keep in mind is that this foam roller doesn’t collapse, so it’s a bit bulky for traveling.

Additionally, as with any other foam roller, avoid rolling directly over any joints, such as your knees or elbows. You should also avoid rolling over your hips.

Pros

  • It can support up to 500 lbs. (226.8 kg).
  • The company has free online instructional videos to help new users.
  • The roller includes bumps and ridges for more intense pressure.

Cons

  • This foam roller won’t collapse, so it’s not a great option for travel or on-the-go use.
  • Some of the other rolling options on this list are wider, which may be better for certain uses and body types.

Best budget-friendly foam roller

Amazon Basics High-Density Round Foam Roller

  • Price: $
  • Bottom line: an inexpensive, basic foam roller designed to ease everyday muscle soreness

If you’re interested in a basic foam roller, look no further than this high density option from Amazon.

In contrast to the TriggerPoint roller above, the Amazon foam roller has a smooth surface that’s designed to distribute pressure evenly, which may be more comfortable if you’re new to foam rolling.

In addition to being affordable, the roller is available in several sizes and has nearly 77,000 (mostly) positive customer reviews online.

As with the GRID Foam Roller, users of this roller should avoid rolling directly over small joints and their lower back.

Also, make sure to consult a healthcare professional before using a foam roller, especially if you have a chronic injury or are pregnant.

Pros

  • This roller is one of the most affordable options on our list.
  • It’s available in a variety of sizes, so it’s easy to find one that matches your body size and needs.
  • The smooth surface may make this option more comfortable for people new to foam rolling.

Cons

  • This is a basic roller without some of the bells and whistles, like a textured surface, that other rollers include.
  • Some customer reviews said that the density of this roller made it hard on their bodies.

Best vibrating roller

Hyperice Vyper 3 High-Intensity Vibrating Fitness Roller

  • Price: $$$$
  • Bottom line: a high tech upgrade to the classic foam roller that’s designed to help relieve muscle soreness and improve circulation in larger muscle groups

Looking for a cross between a massage gun and a foam roller? A vibrating roller may be the myofascial release tool of your dreams.

The Vyper 3 is a vibrating foam roller made by Hyperice — the company behind other popular recovery tools, including Hypervolt percussion massagers and Normatec compression devices.

With three vibration settings, the roller allows you to customize the intensity of your massage. It’s also cordless, compact, and TSA-approved for carry-on, so it’s convenient for travel. What’s more, the roller has a battery life of up to 2 hours of use per charge.

This roller can be paired with the Hyperice app for guided sessions, advice, and progress monitoring.

High tech features aside, the Vyper 3 offers the same benefits as other foam rollers and is particularly beneficial for massaging larger muscle groups in your back and lower body.

Pros

  • This roller has a battery life of up to 2 hours per charge.
  • It includes three different vibration settings.
  • The roller can be paired with an app for guided sessions and progress monitoring.

Cons

  • This is one of the most expensive options on our list.
  • Its high tech features may be more than you need or want in a foam roller.

Best cryotherapy tool

Recoup Fitness Cryosphere Cold Massage Roller

  • Price: $
  • Bottom line: a convenient tool that combines the benefits of massage and cold therapy to reduce muscle soreness and inflammation

Cryotherapy (also known as cold therapy) is a technique that uses brief exposure to very cold temperatures to help reduce muscle inflammation and numb nerve pain (5).

The Cryosphere is a massage roller that’s filled with nontoxic cooling gel to combine the benefits of cryotherapy and self-myofascial release.

Slightly larger than a baseball, the sphere can be used on its own or inserted into a rubber grip to make it easier to hold.

While it’s not the only cooling massage device on the market, the Cryosphere stands out for its quick chill time — it can be frozen and ready to go in just 2 hours. It also stays cold for up to 6 hours and is easy to clean.

Like other massage rollers, the Cryosphere can be used to target trigger points in most areas of your body, including your shoulders, arms, legs, and feet.

It may also be a good option if you’re dealing with tennis elbow or have another small area in need of relief (6).

Keep in mind that cryotherapy should not be performed continuously for long periods, since numbness, tiredness, skin irritation, and redness can occur with prolonged exposure. In addition, ice should not be applied directly to the skin. As with ice packs, you’ll want to use some fabric, or a towel, to create a buffer.

Additionally, people with nerve damage should avoid using cryotherapy unless under the supervision of a healthcare professional.

Pros

  • This roller freezes in just 2 hours and can stay cold for up to 6 hours.
  • It comes with a rubber grip that makes it easier to hold the roller when chilled.
  • The ball is reusable and leak-proof.

Cons

  • You’ll want to be careful to avoid numbness or skin irritation from the cold.
  • The smaller size may not be good for use on larger areas of the body, like the back.

Best massage ball

4KOR Fitness Ultimate Massage Ball Set

  • Price: $
  • Bottom line: a great value if you prefer the simplicity of massage balls and have multiple trigger points you’d like to target

Because they have a smaller surface area than a foam roller, massage balls offer a greater amount of precision and pressure control.

They’re especially useful for relieving trigger points in areas such as your hands, feet, neck, and hips.

This three-piece set from 4KOR stands out for the range of ball options it provides, including a lacrosse ball and two massage balls — all of which are latex-free and made of natural rubber.

Called Fireballs, 4KOR’s massage balls include a grid-like design for increased pressure. The kit includes two sizes of Fireballs:

  • 4.75-inch (12-cm) for targeting larger muscle groups in your lower body
  • 3.2-inch (8.1-cm) for isolating trigger points

Similar to the smaller massage ball, the lacrosse ball is designed to provide targeted relief.

However, because it has a smooth surface rather than the grooves and treads of the Fireballs, it allows for a more even distribution of pressure, which is useful for massaging out more sensitive areas.

Although it’s not included in the kit, 4KOR also offers a peanut ball, which is designed to cradle your spine to relieve tension in your neck.

Pros

  • This kit offers a variety of differently sized balls, so it’s easy to find one that hits the spot just right.
  • These are easy to take on the go.
  • You can get textured or smooth options depending on the amount of pressure you want.

Cons

  • A foam roller is a more efficient choice for larger sections of the body, including the back.
  • This tool can be tricky to use on the back.

Best massage gun

Theragun Elite

  • Price: $$$$
  • Bottom line: a high powered tool that’s great for athletes looking for a high intensity, targeted massage

Massage guns are high powered devices that provide short bursts of pressure to targeted areas of your body.

While they’re more expensive than other myofascial release tools, massage guns are designed for athletes who want more intensity than a massage ball or stick can provide.

Theragun is one of the most popular massage gun brands, and its Theragun Elite model provides the best bang for your buck.

In addition to speeds ranging from 1,750–2,400 percussions per minute (PPM), the device offers 2 hours of battery life, 5 interchangeable heads, and an ergonomic handle. It’s both powerful and easy to use.

Other notable features include a quiet motor and Bluetooth connectivity, which allows you to adjust the speed and save custom presets using the Therabody app.

The Elite also travels well, as it weighs just 2.2 lbs. (1 kg).

Just keep in mind that massage guns do come with some risks. To avoid potential injuries, avoid using them directly on joints, nerves, lymphatic tissue, and major arteries and veins.

Pros

  • This massage gun includes five interchangeable heads.
  • It only weighs 2.2 lbs. (1 kg), so it’s easy to take on the road.
  • When fully charged, it has up to 2 hours of battery life.

Cons

  • This massage gun has a steep price.
  • The speed and intensity might be more than you want.

Best massage stick

Tiger Tail Massage Stick

  • Price: $
  • Bottom line: a good option for runners who are looking for a travel-friendly way to ease sore muscles

Interested in a foam roller without the bulk?

Massage sticks differ from foam rollers in that they use pressure from your hands rather than your bodyweight, making it easier to adjust the intensity.

They’re also lighter and more compact, so they’re a good option if you’re traveling or tight on space.

The Tiger Tail Massage Stick is one of the best options — it’s highly rated for being easy to angle, thanks to its comfortable rubber grips.

While it can be used on multiple parts of your body, customers note that it’s particularly useful for massaging longer muscles in the legs and back.

The Tiger Tail Massage Stick is made in the United States using latex-free, medical-grade foam and plastic.

Pros

  • Three different stick sizes are available, which makes it easy to find one that’s right for your body size.
  • It includes non-stick grips for comfort.
  • It is made in the United States from latex-free, medical-grade foam and plastic.

Cons

  • You have to adjust pressure using your hands, rather than relying on body weight.
  • Some reviewers report it has an odd chemical smell.

Best kit

TriggerPoint Performance Collection

  • Price: $$$
  • Bottom line: a total body kit that’s great for travel

Looking for a comprehensive set of manual release tools? The TriggerPoint Performance Collection provides a range of options.

The kit includes five myofascial release tools:

  • a quadballer for massaging larger muscle groups
  • a footballer for your lower legs
  • two massage balls for targeting trigger points
  • a baller block for keeping your leg elevated

This kit is especially popular with athletes on the go, as it takes up less space than a regular foam roller.

What’s more, your purchase comes with a 1-year warranty and access to an instructional video portal to ensure that you’re using the tools correctly.

Pros

  • The kit comes with a 1-year warranty.
  • Online instructional videos are available to help ensure that you’re using the tools properly.
  • The rollers take up less space than a regular foam roller.

Cons

  • It is a bit of an investment, even though it includes five different pieces of equipment.
  • None of the tools have textured surfaces.

Most like human touch

MINTBIOLOGY KOA Elite HUMANTouch 3.0

  • Price: $$
  • Bottom line: an easy-to-hold massage tool that’s good if you’re looking to dig deep into muscle knots and sore spots

The MINTBIOLOGY KOA Elite HUMANTouch 3.0 features finger-like spacing to mimic a human’s elbow, knuckles, and fingers.

Thanks to its unique design, the tool allows you to control the pace, depth, and pressure applied for a more customized experience.

Unlike foam rollers and massage sticks, the KOA Elite HUMANTouch 3.0 is meant to dig deep, targeting trigger points nearly anywhere on your body — from your scalp down to the bottom of your feet.

Plus, its small size allows it to fit nicely in your carry-on or gym bag.

If you’re concerned about exposure to chemicals, it’s worth noting that the KOA Elite HUMANTouch 3.0 is 100% free of chemicals like BPA, PBDE, TBBPA, and phthalates.

Pros

  • The design mimics the spacing of knuckles and fingers to give a hands-on feeling.
  • The small size allows for easy transport.
  • It’s free of chemicals like BPA, PBDE, TBBPA, and phthalates.

Cons

  • Some users complain that it is a lot of work to use on themselves compared with a roller or other options.
  • There are similar products available for a lower price.

ProductPriceTypeIntended useTextured surfacePros
TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller$foam rollerlegs and backyes– can support up to 500 lbs. (226.8 kg)
– free online instructional videos available to help new users
– has bumps and ridges for more intense pressure
Amazon Basics High-Density Round Foam Roller$foam rollerlegs and backno– affordable
– available in a variety of sizes
– smooth surface may make this roller more comfortable for beginners
Hyperice Vyper 3 High-Intensity Vibrating Fitness Roller$$$$vibrating rollerlegs and backno, but it’s contoured– up to 2 hours of battery life per charge
– three vibration settings
– can be paired with an app for guided sessions and progress monitoring
Recoup Fitness Cryosphere Cold Massage Roller$cold massage rollersmaller surfaces: hands, feet, elbows, etc.no– freezes in 2 hours and can stay cold for up to 6 hours
– rubber grip makes it easier to hold the chilled roller
– ball is reusable and leak-proof
4KOR Fitness Ultimate Massage Ball Set$massage ballsmaller surfaces: hands, feet, elbows, etc,yes, but set also includes one ball without a textured surface– comes with a variety of ball sizes, so you can find one that hits the spot
– easy to take on the go
– textured and smooth options available depending on the amount of pressure you want
Theragun Elite$$$$massage gunlegs and backyes– massage gun includes five interchangeable heads
– weighs 2.2 lbs. (1 kg), so it’s easy to take on the road
– fully charged, it has up to 2 hours of battery life
Tiger Tail Massage Stick$massage sticklegs and backno– three different stick sizes are available
– includes nonstick grips for comfort
– made in the U.S. from latex-free, medical-grade foam and plastic
TriggerPoint Performance Collection$$$kit with massage balls and rollerstotal bodyno– comes with 1-year warranty
– online instructional videos help ensure that you’re using the tools properly
– take up less space than a regular foam roller
MINTBIOLOGY KOA Elite HUMANTouch 3.0$$massage tooltotal body, including scalp, neck, backyes, designed to mimic fingers– the design mimics the spacing of knuckles and fingers to give a hands-on feeling
– small and easy to transport
– free of BPA, PBDE, TBBPA, and phthalates

When shopping for a myofascial release tool, there are several important factors to consider:

  • Intended use: One of the most important considerations is which part(s) of your body you want to apply pressure to. Some tools, like foam rollers, are designed for larger muscle areas, whereas others, like massage guns and balls, help break up muscle knots — also known as myofascial trigger points.
  • Intensity: You’ll also have to decide how much pressure you need and whether you want a tool that vibrates, has ridges, or is cold.
  • Budget: Because there’s a wide range of products for every budget, it’s helpful to have an idea of how much you’re willing to spend on a myofascial release tool. Especially if you buy a motorized product, you’ll also want to note what’s covered under warranty and for how long.
  • Size: The size of the device is another important factor, as some are designed to fit in a gym bag, while others are too bulky to carry around.
  • Ease of use: Some products make it easier (or more comfortable) to perform a self-massage than others.

It’s also worth looking for products that include detailed instructional materials, such as access to online training videos.

Finally, if you have any questions or concerns about using these products, make sure to talk with a healthcare professional before making your purchase.

How do you do a myofascial release on yourself?

Many myofascial release tools like foam rollers, massage sticks, and massage balls can be used without someone’s assistance. Be sure to follow manufacturer directions so that you use the tools properly.

If you can reach an area of your body with your fingers, you can also apply myofascial release without tools by pressing on and rubbing trigger points.

What is the difference between myofascial release and massage?

Both myofascial release and massage involve the application of pressure to release tension, but they have different benefits and purposes.

Myofascial release works specifically with the fascia, or connective tissue, and usually targets problem areas through sustained pressure.

Massage, in contrast, generally involves larger regions of the body and incorporates a variety of techniques applied at a steady pace for relaxation.

What parts of the body should be avoided during myofascial release techniques?

Always follow directions from the manufacturer and your healthcare professionals when performing myofascial release techniques and use tools only where intended.

As a general rule, avoid using a foam roller directly on joints like the knees and elbows. If you have certain health conditions, you may be advised against using myofascial release on some or all areas of your body.

From foam rollers and massage sticks to cryotherapy balls and massage guns, there’s a myofascial release tool to fit nearly every budget and recovery need.

When shopping for a release tool, make sure to consider your intended use and select a product you feel comfortable handling.

For safety purposes, always follow the manufacturer’s directions and discuss any questions or concerns with a healthcare professional.