Myofascial Release is a unique and effective form of physical therapy which incorporates stretching and massage of the body's connective tissues, or fascia.
Fascia is a thin tissue that covers all the organs of the body. This tissue covers every muscle and every fiber within each muscle. Therefore, all muscle stretching is actually stretching of the fascia and the muscle, the myofascial unit. When muscle fibers are injured, the fibers and the fascia which surrounds it become short and tight. This uneven stress can be transmitted through the fascia to other parts of the body, causing pain and a variety of other symptoms in areas you often wouldn't expect. Myofascial Release treats these symptoms by releasing the uneven tightness in injured fascia.
Myofascial Release usually begins with a gentle massage which is designed to warm and loosen muscles. As the therapist works, he or she identifies areas of tension which require further attention and will return to those areas to stretch and work the fascia. Sometimes Myofascial Release can be quite intense, especially in the case of muscles which are holding a great deal of tension and stress. After the session, some clients experience slight stiffness and soreness, which will usually vanish over the next few days leaving behind a sense of well-being.
During Myofascial Release, the client may be manipulated in a wide variety of poses, or the Massage Therapist may only stretch a muscle in a small way, using a few fingers to get deep into the muscle and pull it into a beneficial stretch. Breathing in conjunction with the stretches is advised for maximum comfort and benefit.
In patients with Fibromyalgia, back pain, and other muscle-associated health issues, Myofascial Release can be highly beneficial. Myofascial Release is frequently incorporated into pain management plans and patients often feel positive effects after only a few sessions.
Regular Myofascial Release can improve posture, ease areas of muscle soreness, and improve flexibility. Like any course of massage therapy, patients should consult a doctor before embarking on a Myofascial Release program, to avoid conflicts with medical conditions or other treatments. Myofascial Release should never be painful, if pain is felt the therapist should work differently on the affected area or move to another location.