Foam rolling is a form of myofascial release—basically, it’s like giving your muscles a little massage. By applying pressure to sore muscles and tendons, foam rolling encourages knots and tense spots to release and relax. Rolling also encourages enhanced blood flow and lymphatic drainage—by sending fresh blood to the area that’s getting pressure, foam rolling reduces inflammation and swelling. This encourages the body to recover more quickly and feel better.
Proponents of the practice say that the same things that make foam rolling great for muscles — enhanced blood flow and increased lymphatic drainage — help reduce the appearance of cellulite. Because cellulite is caused by pockets of body fat that balloon up to the surface of the fascia, right below the dermis, the idea is that increasing circulation to the area strengthens fascia and prevents fat cells from pushing through to cause more dimpling.