These Foam Rollers Will Turn You Into Your Own Masseuse

Okay, so you've seen people smooshing themselves around on those big pieces of foam at the gym. Are they practicing their balancing skills? Maybe summoning some sort of strength magic? Nope! Foam rolling is really just a way to get a good massage — without a masseuse.

But foam rolling definitely isn't a new thing: Rollers have been a standard part of the physical therapist's toolkit for years now as a way to ease the tension in sore or injured muscles during the rehab process. The thinking is that, by rolling slowly and methodically over a section of muscle and fascia (connective tissue), you can relax and release that tension. Not only does this make you feel better in the moment, but it'll also help keep any minor muscle tension from developing into bigger, more chronic problems.

The technique is called "myofascial release" and it's basically that hurts-so-good feeling you get from a deep massage. And, because foam rollers can help you get that feeling yourself, they're enjoying a bit of a moment right now. They're a (relatively) cheap way to keep your body feeling relaxed without having to hit up a spa every week.

However, some experts aren't a huge fan of foam rollers for myofascial release, suggesting that they simply compress the fascia rather than really getting in there and massaging it. And, if you're not doing it right, it's surprisingly easy to make your muscles feel a lot worse. That means you've gotta resist the urge to expect a miracle cure — or freestyle your rolling technique.

Still, foam rolling is a pretty easy way to get at those nasty muscle knots on your own (especially before a workout). So continue on to see a few of our favorite rollers out there.

This roller may look basic, but it comes with a DVD to help you get started on your road to muscle relaxation.

Gaiam Restore Total Body 36" Foam Roller, $34.99, available at Target.
With both smooth and deeply-grooved sections, this roller gives you the best of both worlds.

ProSource Sports Medicine Roller, $28.00, available at ProSource.
This is about as basic as it gets. If you're brand new to foam rolling, you might want to try working with this one before investing in a more intense model.

AmazonBasics High-Density Round Foam Roller, $18.38, available at Amazon.
The foam rollers from TriggerPoint each have a layer of plastic reinforcement inside to keep them from wearing down and sagging as you use them.

TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller, $39.99, available at TriggerPoint.
No need to be staring at YouTube instructions on your phone with this one — the most common foam roller exercises are all printed on the sides.

SKLZ Trainer Roller, $39.99, available at Amazon.
The Rumble Roller has a dedicated cult following thanks to the incredibly intense massage you'll get from those protruding knobs.

Rumble Roller Compact Foam Deep-Tissue Massage Roller, $44.45, available at Walmart.