Myofascial release is a technique which specifically addresses the connective tissue in the body through stretching and massage. This work is typically done by any practitioner who works in manual therapy, such as massage therapists and physical therapists.
Who may benefit from Myofascial Release treatment?
Those who experience chronic or acute pain in the body resulting from, but not limited to:
- Myofascial Pain syndrome
- Motor Vehicle Accidents
- Disc Herniation
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Cerebral Palsy
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Spinal injuries
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Emotional Trauma
What Is Fascia?
To better understand what Myofascial Release, or MFR, is, let’s first talk about fascia.
Imagine that your body is enveloped in a 3-dimensional net. The net surrounds each of your muscle cells, then converges to create the tendons of your muscles. It runs under your skin and surrounds each bone, nerve, blood vessel and joint in your body. Even your internal organs are covered in this net. It is a flexible structure which moves without restriction.
Fascia works similarly in your body. Imagine what would happen if you tied a knot somewhere in that net. The tension created by the knot would pull on everything that it is attached to. The body tends to adapts to this pulling, but over time, and when left untreated, it may lead to painful joints and muscles. These “knots” in your fascia can be the result of injury, trauma, surgery, or repetitive motion.
By addressing the fascia in the body, we add mobility and fluidity to this connective tissue. With this in mind, we can see a ripple effect; releasing tension in one area of the body tends to release tension felt in the muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints.
What to Expect in a MFR Treatment:
When you seek a massage therapist, be aware that you will have to share certain information with her in order to get the most out of your treatment. It will be important for you to share your medical history and current areas of pain, as well as areas to avoid, so your massage therapist can help you best.
- You will most likely need to answer questions such as:
- How long ago did your symptoms begin?
- What makes your symptoms worse/better?
- What quality would you give your pain; dull, sore, sharp, throbbing, etc.?
- How have your symptoms changed since their onset?
- Are there other areas of your life or body that are being affected by your condition?
Once your treatment begins, your therapist will feel for areas of fascial restriction in your body. When these areas are detected, pressure may be applied to help the tissue release. Pressure may vary from specific and deep, to broad and light. Applying pressure to the muscles while stretching is another common way to assist in the release of these restrictions.
Keep in mind: It is common for some fascia-focused techniques to be painful, but remember, you should always work within your own comfort zone. Your therapist should be happy to work with you for your individual needs. Any pressure which causes you to tense up is too much and is actually counterproductive. Always be an advocate for yourself and establish good communication with your practitioner.