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Voodoo Floss: myth or reality?

Voodoo Floss: myth or reality?

Voodoo Floss is a recent technique that would allow range of motion work while improving joints biomechanics.

By Pierre-Luc Dubé

There are countless ways to work on our customers mobility other than with passive stretching only. Through the multitude of options available to us as a professional, it is important to choose those that, in the end, will have a real effect on our client. However, it is also important to separate things out in order to know if there is really an interest in using one in particular. Voodoo floss is a recent technique that would work on range of motion in addition to improving the biomechanics of the joints. This technique consists of wrapping a muscle or a joint with an elastic band stretched between 50% to 70% of its capacity for 1 to 4 minutes and performing passive and / or active flexibility or mobility movements.

According to certain beliefs and articles, the use of this technique could present advantages for range of motion, perception of pain and speed of recovery of injured or damaged tissues via myofascial relaxation and the resulting vascular occlusion. In addition, this method could also reduce the risk of injury and improve performance during power movements.

Conversely, other studies do not seem to see any change with or without the voodoo floss in relation to tissue irrigation and range of motion. There is not really an established protocol to ensure the standardization of the method and the mechanisms triggered by its use are not yet well understood. Nevertheless, the method could work on the same principles as vascular occlusion via the release of factors intervening with DNA, in order to trigger the production of proteins having specific physiological functions. The occlusion effect created by compression does not seem to have any consequences or risk of damage to the circulatory system. Using the method appears to be safe, and there have been no reported incidents related to its use.

The literature seems mitigated regarding the actual effects of this method. No study has reported the effects of voodoo floss for an extended period of time. It is important to form your own opinion before adhering to a theory. However, this method does not necessarily need to be banned. We must evaluate the real result of its use on our customers to verify its effectiveness. If something seems to work for an individual, why should we do without it? It is simply a matter of understanding the principles behind the methods in order to identify whether there is potential or not.

References

  1. Driller, M. W., & Overmayer, R. G. (2017). The effects of tissue flossing on ankle range of motion and jump performance. Physical Therapy in Sport, 25, 20-24. doi:10.1016/j.ptsp.2016.12.004
  2. Kiefer, B. N., Lemarr, K. E., Enriquez, C. C., & Tivener, K. A. (2017). A Pilot Study: Psychological Effects of the Voodoo Floss Band on Glenohumeral Flexibility. International Journal of Athletic Therapy and Training, 1-16. doi:10.1123/ijatt.2016-0093
  3. Borda, J., & Selhorst, M. (2017). The use of compression tack and flossing along with lacrosse ball massage to treat chronic Achilles tendinopathy in an adolescent athlete: a case report. Journal of Manual & Manipulative Therapy, 25(1), 57-61. doi:10.1080/10669817.2016.1159403
  4. Bohlen, J., Arsenault, M., Deane, B., Miller, P., Guadagno, M., & Dobrosielski, D. A. (2014). Effects of applying floss bands on regional blood flow. International Journal of Exercise Science, Conference Proceedings, 9(2).

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