How Vibrating Foam Rollers Help with Muscle Soreness

Foam rollers have been used as self-massage tools in the late 80’s and grew in popularity due to its effectiveness in improving mobility, muscle recovery and improve muscle performance.

Over the past few years, manufacturers have combined the technology of vibration therapy and foam rolling and developed vibrating foam roller (like this one from Emerge Fitness), promising a speedier recovery and improved circulation, flexibility, and minimizing pain.

Vibrating Foam

This article skims over on how vibrating foam rollers help with muscle soreness.

Lactic Acid

Ever notice how you get pain, soreness, or even cramps in your muscles after an intense workout? Part of this is the lactic acid build up in your muscles and is a byproduct of muscle metabolism.

Foam rolling after a workout is a great way to slowly break down this lactic acid build up and flush it out of your muscles.

Combining this traditional method with vibration technology seems very promising, as a study has shown that the recovery in lactate level and muscular fatigue has improved when subjects sat on a vibrating chair after an intense workout, compared to the control group who didn’t sit on the vibrating chair.

In fact, the results were very significant as the lactate level in the group who sat on the vibrating chair decreased by 93.8%, compared to the control (32.8%). The scientists who conducted this experiment believed this was because the vibration stimulated the blood vessels and maintained blood flow, and the lactic acid would be oxidized and flushed out.

Myofascial Release

Foam rollers allow you to perform self-massage or myofascial release on your own. Before I head on to the vibration technology infused in modern foam rollers, it’s important you understand the basics of your myofascial system.

This system is made up of different components, from the superficial fascia, a soft connective tissue underneath the skin that wraps the muscles, bones, blood vessels, and nerves of the body and the muscle underneath it.

Myofascial release applies gentle pressure on soft tissue and applying traction to the fascia at the same time. The purpose is to allow the fascia and other components to move freely and eventually restoring motion.

Currently, not many studies have indicated the effectiveness of vibration therapy on myofascial released, but it has received support from sports scientists. Lee Brown, a sports scientist at California State University states that generally, muscles would react towards vibration by contracting and relaxing.

[1] “Effect of whole body vibration on lactate level recovery and … – NCBI.” 20 Jul. 2017, Accessed 25 Sep. 2018.

“Vibrations send signals to the muscle to contract, blood flows into the muscle, and results in a warmer muscle”, says Brown. This is like an active warm-up and can reduce the risks of injury.

According to Nicole Dabbs, an associate professor of kinesiology at California State University, some studies have shown increases in strength, power, and flexibility using this technique, though there isn’t enough evidence to conclude it.


Though there isn’t enough evidence to prove vibration therapy in foam rolling is effective as claimed, we can’t deny that it is a promising tool to help boost performance. The vibration foam rollers on the market can be expensive, but as the technology develops, we’re bound to see more of these in the future as they become cheaper and more accessible.