What is Myofascial Release?
In order to understand the myofascial release technique, it is first important to understand the superficial fascia system. Superfiscial fascia is a sort of coating that envelops the organs, glands, and nerves throughout the body. It is composed of muscle and fat tissue in a loose configuration, with varying quantities of fat. The superfiscial fascia helps determine the shape of our bodies and also fills unoccupied areas. The superfiscial fascia is one continuous structure from the head to the toes. It is most prominent in the lower abdomen, near the abdominal wall, where there are many organs. It is very thin at the hands and feet, and on the sides of the neck and face. Superficial fascia helps facilitate skin movement, provides a medium for nerves and blood vessels that go to the skin, and it helps conserve body heat with its fat content.
Fascia can become adhered to its underlying muscle tissue, due to disuse, lack of stretching, or injuries. Trauma, inflammation, and surgical procedures can also trigger myofascial restrictions and adhesion. This adhesion can result in pain, soreness, and reduced range of motion and flexibility, or even restricted muscle movement. Myofascial release is a technique that applies sustained, gentle pressure on the tissues while giving traction to the fascia. The resulting lengthening and softening of the fascial tissue helps remove adhesion and restore flexibility and range of motion, thus reducing pain.
Generally, every ayofascial release treatment includes the same components. The therapist uses an experienced touch to detect areas of tightness, and then applies a light stretch to that area. When the tissue begins to relax, the therapist increases the stretch. Your therapist will talk with you through the process, and your feedback and interaction are essential to the success of treatment. The stretching and relaxing process is repeated until the area is completely relaxed, and then the next area is treated. The technique is gentle and relaxing –you may even fall asleep during the procedure! The goal of treatment is to equalize tension in the muscles throughout the body.
Myofascial release is effective in treating various kinds of back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia, dizziness, headaches, fibrositis, and plantar fasciitis, among others. However, most patients are treated with myofascial release after other treatments have proven ineffective. This is because myofascial release is a time-intensive, one-on-one treatment. If you are having trouble finding relief from these conditions despite attempting various treatment methods, ask if myofascial release may be a good choice for you.