How can Myofascial Release Benefit You?
Over the past few years that I’ve been working as a specialised massage therapist, I have had many opportunities to work with many different healing techniques. In my experience I have found only a few to be efficient in terms of working with soft tissue to realign the musculoskeletal system.
In response to the myriad of questions I receive on a daily basis, I would like to briefly explain the work I do.
Myo; means muscle in Latin
Fascial; means connective tissue
Myofascial release is a mixture of techniques and approaches that aim to free restrictions of movement that originate in the soft tissues (muscles) of the body. In my experience the benefits of this work include an alleviation of pain, better sleep, improved athletic performance, greater flexibility, ease of movement and improved posture. More indirect results include emotional release, deep relaxation, improved awareness of ones own body and general wellbeing. Myofascial release is not a technique as such but rather a goal oriented approach to working with soft tissue restrictions and their interactions with movement and posture.
During a session I will address how postural habits, specific repetitive movements or daily habits, such as siting at a desk for long hours or carrying children, playing an instrument, and so many more, combined with lack of movement and compensations for prior injuries result in structural adaptation, stress and an avoidance of full range movements. The consequences of which result in a shortening of soft tissue (muscular units) and adhesions between layers of fascia and pain. Myofascial pain is commonly described as a deep, dull diffuse ache.
Fascia is a type of dense connective tissue that forms the continuous 3D matrix that wraps around muscles, down to individual fibres, suspending organs. It is webbing for vascular structures, nerve and lymphatic vessels. Fascia forms the passive structural definition of our bodies and is looked at, as a semi-conductive communication network in that is capable of sending nerve signals that communicate with each other throughout its network. This means that the whole body can communicate through this medium instantaneously.
Fascia can be problematic in its response to prolonged mobilisation as it adapts to the position. For example, having difficulty standing straight after sitting for long periods. This is when the fascia has conformed to a prolonged position. Nerves in peripheral tissues may become impinged by contracted muscle fibers and shortened fascia contributing to musculoskeletal pain syndromes.
The application of myofascial release techniques on adhered or shortened fascia is crucial in working with long standing pain and the musculoskeletal system will respond more efficiently as they have a direct relationship.
How do we release shortened and adhered connective tissue?
With the application of slow, controlled, focused force in a specific direction, we are able to stretch or elongate muscular and fascial tissue and restore the fluid nature of the tissue, mobility and normal joint function. As fascial tone improves, individual muscles glide over one another as they should and there is a distinction between compartments once again rather than a feeling of solidity.
The presence of trigger points within the myofascia may also be a contributing factor to the above-mentioned aberrations. It may surprise you to know that; “around 75% of pain clinic patients have a trigger point as the sole source of their pain”. !