We floss our teeth, so why don’t we floss our joints and muscles?
By Nathanael (Nate) Chan, Physiotherapist
Voodoo flossing is a manual therapy technique utilising a compressive force aimed to improve joint range of motion and improve muscle length. The current body of research is of a low quality with inconsistent findings. There are no negative effects on performance, however it should be used with caution.
There exact physiological process is unknown, but there are a few theories explaining it’s purpose and function.
1. Improve muscle length through gliding
Through the compressive wrap/floss it aims to pin the muscle down in one position, as we move the muscles and joints through range of movement (e.g. squat), it will in turn lengthen the muscle itself and break up any fascial adhesions.
Compression is a reduction in volume, in this instance created via wrap/floss around the body part (e.g. ankle or calf). As a result, it restricts blood flow causing an acute physiological response to the body part. After removing the wrap/floss a new blood supply permeates the area and flushes out the lactic acid to promote healing to the specified body part.
3. Distraction Force
A common technique used in manual therapy, the floss creates more space for the joint capsule to roll and glide (e.g. ankle for squatting). Thus, increasing the range of motion.
Overall it suggests it will improve range of motion, prevent injuries and enhance your athletic performance!