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Myofascial Release What is it? And What Is Fascia?

Benefits Of Massage and MFR

  Myofascial release is a manual therapy performed on the entire body with a whole body focus. It consists of gentle sustained pressure applied to an area of restriction. This gentle stretching has a profound effect on the tissues of the body. It can range from superficial to very deep, depending on how the body releases. Because of this gentleness, people often wonder how it can work, and what is happening in a treatment. They may later have an awareness of how open and flexible their body is becoming, although sometimes the results can be felt immediately. It is possible for several days to pass and they  feel less pain when doing normal activities or a new awareness  that will help with the next treatment.

Time is crucial in MFR, a release at each fascial barrier is held for 90-120 seconds at minimum to release the collagenous component of the fascia as opposed to just the elastic component that bounces back quickly in other therapies.  The collagenous or thick fibers go from a solid state to a more gel like state with MFR to give your tissues more freedom. So sinking in and staying with the tissue helps releases last longer for more sound structural changes to occur.  The therapist engages the barrier and waits for a release, then on to  the next and so on.  Fascia does not respond to force, it is only with this sustained gentle pressure does the system release.

Fascia or connective tissue is a three dimensional web that runs uninterrupted from head to foot in our bodies.  It has a spider web like feel throughout the body. It surrounds muscle, bone, organs, nerves , vessels, basically everything down to a cellular level.  So by releasing one area such as the foot or big toe, it could potentially effect the function of the neck or other distant region. So this is why your therapist may work parts that seem unrelated to your pain symptoms, but are very important to treat. 

When fascia is injured through disease, inflammation, injury, surgery, or trauma it can put tension on pain sensitive structures adjacent to the area or far away areas. It is estimated that  fascia has the tensile strength of 2000 pounds per square inch, about the strength of a radial tire,  so it  is no wonder we walk around with so much tension and pain.  Muscle tissue responds to firm pressures but this is not the case with fascia, and a gentle sustained pressure is needed for this thick tissue to go from a solid to a more gel like state and for this to occur the time factor is key. The releases may feel like taffy pulling while the therapist follows the three dimensional release of tissues. At times an organic movement called unwinding may occur where the body spontaneously moves to allow a deep structural or emotional release. So always allow your body to move freely if it feels right .

Myofascial release is a very effective and powerful modality. It can stand alone as your treatment or be a wonderful adjunct to other therapies. I look forward to sharing and educating you further with Myofascial release. I also recommend the book Myofascial Stretching, A guide to self treatment by Jill Stredronsky,MS,OTR and Brenda Pardy,OTR.

 

  • Reduce Pain

  • Relieve Stress & Anxiety

  • Enhance Flexibilty

  • Increase Circulation

  • Promote Healing
    (Surgery/Trauma)

  • Lower Blood Pressure

  • Detoxification

  • Improve Sleep

  • Ease Prenatal Discomfort

  • Soothe The Spirit

  • Feel Great!