Wellness

How To: Foam Roll Away Bloat

Structural integration and alignment specialist Lauren Roxburgh has a foam rolling routine for nearly any body complaint a client throws her way—including bloating. Below, Roxburgh explains the connection she sees between tightened fascia (i.e., the fibrous connective tissue that protects, supports, and separates muscles and other organs) and digestive discomfort in her private practice. And above, in a new video, she shares the foam rolling routine she relies on for doing away with bloat.

For more from Roxburgh, see her book; her self-designed foam rollers; and her just-released, ten-week digital course called Taller Slimmer Younger Transformation. (Scroll down for details on the program, along with a promo code courtesy of Roxburgh.)

A Q&A with Lauren Roxburgh

Q

What does fascia have to do with digestion and bloating?

A

Fascia is a type of connective tissue that is most commonly associated with our ligaments and muscles, but it may also play a role in digestion and bloating; some scientists theorize that fascia not only wraps every muscle in the body, but also every organ. When the fascia around muscles gets tight, it can become rigid, restricting movement, circulation, and hydration in these tissues. Gentle stretching and massage might help relieve this tightness by stimulating blood flow. If the fascia around organs were to get tight, it could constrict those organs, put pressure on the surrounding nerves, interfere with the movement of fluids, and impair diaphragmatic breathing—all of which could contribute to issues with digestion and bloating.

This sequence includes twisting and inversions that help to “wring out” the organs as you would a wet towel. The goal is to give the digestive organs more space, and to support oxygenated blood flow, so that they can get on with their job of absorbing nutrients and expelling waste.

Q

When is the best time to do this routine? Can you pre-empt bloat, or do you do it once you’re already bloated?

A

This sequence is great to do almost anytime. If you’re starting to feel a little bloated, say after a big meal or before heading out on the town, jump on your roller and follow the moves in the video. It generally only takes a minute or so to start feeling a bit better.

If you’re really feeling bloated, you can gently extend this and do each move a few more times to extend the sequence. Take your time, breathe, and don’t push it too hard.

“This sequence includes twisting and inversions that help to ‘wring out’ the organs as you would a wet towel.”

Doing this sequence regularly after meals has helped my clients prevent bloating, too. Just be sure to wait at least 30 minutes after eating.

If you experience chronic issues with bloating, it may be a sign of a sluggish and stressed digestive tract, and/or that something else is up. Of course, talk to your doctor.

Q

Do you see an emotional aspect to bloating with your clients?

A

There is a lot of research now on the connection between out gut and our brain—some scientists refer to the enteric nervous system in the gut as our “second brain.” Research has shown that the gastrointestinal tract is sensitive to emotion, anger, anxiety, and depression; in turn, all of these psychological issues can trigger symptoms in the gut.

I also see it working both ways: When our gut is twisted up, compressed, and bloated, we don’t feel at our best, so getting motivated to work out, or to do anything for that matter, can be more of a challenge. This can be a vicious cycle—if we’re feeling bloated and generally “off,” we may be less inclined to work out, we might resort to less healthy comfort foods, all of which could exacerbate bloat. So, nipping the bloat in the bud is even more important. The nice thing about foam rolling is that it’s low impact and relatively low effort, so I find clients are more inclined to try it when they feel the first signs of discomfort.

“Research has shown that the gastrointestinal tract is sensitive to emotion, anger, anxiety, and depression; in turn, all of these psychological issues can trigger symptoms in the gut.”

Q

Do you recommend other movements or exercise for supporting digestion?

A

I recommend rebounding to a lot of my clients looking for help with digestion and bloating. It’s a super effective and low impact way of getting your cardio in, which will boost circulation. (My favorite rebounder is the Bellicon.)

But almost any restorative exercise is likely to help—i.e., walking, yoga. Some people like deep breathing exercises, too, which can be helpful for calming the nervous system, too.

Q

While we have you—tell us about your new program?

A

The Taller Slimmer Younger Transformation is a ten-week digital course that includes restorative foam rolling video workouts that evolve each week, a meal plan and recipes for supporting fascia health, self-care sequences, and a built-in community for inspiration along the way.

*Ed. note: For those interested, Roxburgh is currently offering up a 30% discount on the program—just use the code GOOP.



Lauren Roxburgh is a body alignment, fascia, and movement specialist with a private practice based in LA. She is also the author of Taller, Slimmer, Younger.

The views expressed in this article intend to highlight alternative studies and induce conversation. They are the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of goop, and are for informational purposes only, even if and to the extent that this article features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.

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