In order to determine if you're someone who would benefit from myofascial release, it helps to first know what fascia actually is. Fascia is a specialized system of the body that has an appearance similar to a spider's web or a sweater. Fascia is very densely woven, covering and interpenetrating every muscle, bone, nerve, artery and vein, as well as, all of our internal organs including the heart, lungs, brain and spinal cord. The most interesting aspect of the fascial system is that it is not just a system of separate coverings. It is actually one continuous structure that exists from head to toe without interruption. In this way, you can begin to see that each part of the entire body is connected to every other part by the fascia, like the yarn in a sweater.
Now, What is myofascial release?
Myofascial Release is a safe and very effective hands-on technique that involves applying gentle sustained pressure (2 minutes or more) into the Myofascial connective tissue restrictions thus easing tension and tightness, eliminating pain, and restoring motion.
**Trauma, inflammatory responses, and/or surgical procedures create Myofascial restrictions that do not show up in many of the standard tests (x-rays, myelograms, CAT scans, electromyography, etc.)
Each Myofascial Release Treatment session is performed directly on skin without oils, creams or machinery. This enables the therapist to accurately detect fascial restrictions and apply the appropriate amount of sustained pressure to facilitate release of the fascia.
When Fascial tissue hardens it pulls on the muscle cells causing tightness, nerve and blood vessel entrapment, and trigger point activity.
Who Performs Myofascial Release?
Some Physical therapists and massage therapists are trained in specialized myofascial release techniques. If you are looking to receive myofascial release as part of your treatment plan, make sure to ask if your provider is trained in myofascial release techniques.
How Does Myofascial Release Work?
Your therapist will gently feel for stiff or tightened areas. Normal tissue should feel pliable and elastic. The therapist will begin massaging and stretching the areas that feel rigid with light manual pressure. The therapist then aids the tissue and supportive sheath in releasing pressure and tightness. The therapist will hold the tissue for a few minutes. These areas where the therapist is working may not be near where the pain originates or where you feel the pain most prominently. Myofascial release works the broader network of muscles that might be causing your pain. It tries to reduce tension throughout your body by releasing trigger points across a broad section of your muscular system.
Who Might Benefit From Myofascial Release?
Patients experiencing the following would benefit from Myofascial Release:
Jaw Pain (TMJ)
Patients with myofascial pain syndrome frequently benefit from this type of therapy. People who experience chronic headaches may also find relief from myofascial release. Gently massaging on tightened muscles in and around the neck and head helps to reduce headaches.
If you think you may benefit from myofascial release and are not sure, feel free to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know about your condition, symptoms, and what you have tried in the past.
Learn more about our practice here: www.thegreenroomptny.com
In good health,
Dr. Ashley Bertorelli, PT and owner, The Green Room PT
Co-written by Debbie McCormick, PTA