What is Myofascial Release, and why should I try it?
Myofascial Release (MFR) works with the fascia, or connective tissue of the body. This connective tissue runs through and around EVERYTHING. It literally CONNECTS the entire body. Not only does fascia provide the internal structure of the body, but it supports the organs and muscles as well.
Fasica surrounds and protects the different parts of the body. It separates the different muscle groups and allows them to slip and slide over each other to function properly. It holds the organs in place so they don't fall down in a big pile in your pelvis! Needless to say, it is essential to the funtioning of our entire body.
This sinew of our body is so essential that it even has nerve endings attached to it so that it can send pain signals to the brain as part of our body's defense mechanism. Unfortunately for us, this also means that when it is not healthy and functioning properly, we feel it as pain too.
Have you ever had a pain in your shoulders that wouldn't go away? You would stretch it out, get a massage, but it just kept coming back? This could be due to posture issues, overuse, or injuries, but it could also be the fascia. Fascia can get twisted and sticky causing pain, tension, and decreased mobility. If it isn't stretched out and put back into proper alignment, your pain isn't going to go away. Myofascial Release uses slow, steady pressure to stretch out the tissues. Holding this pressure gives the fascia time to unwind and stretch back out to where it is really supposed to be.
The body is truly an amazing organism. It WANTS to heal. A good MFR therapist can feel where the tissues want to go. We can "follow" the tissues as they unwind and release. This can be more local, like within an specific muscle group, or, because all fascia is connected, it can span across the whole body. I can be pulling on your leg, but working on the tissues in your shoulder! Sometimes the releases are big and obvious, and sometimes we are working with minute fibres. In either case, there are always noticable improvements. Even after the treatment is finished, the fascia will continue to "unwind". It wants to complete it's healing path so that it is back in it's most optimum position.
Myofascial Release is also a gentler technique. Not to say that it can't be intense at times, but it meets the tissues of your body where they are at. In massage school I learned to push through and break down scar tissue. This could lead to bruising and more pain, which could also create more scar tissue (This isn't to say that massage is not beneficial, but sometimes, there is a better way). With MFR, we meet the tissue where it's at and let your body's own tissues lead the way. It might start out more superficial, but will move deeper when it is ready. You have to start on the outside and slowly move in as the body allows it. This sets up the tissues to be aligned properly to fully support the true healing of whatever adhesion you are working on.
I find MFR to be beneficial in some way for all soft tissue problems. Some of the most significant improvements I have seen have been in working with scar tissue, postural problems, chronic tension, headaches, fibromyalgia, old injuries, whiplash, decreased mobility, sciatica, tingling in the arms, and the list goes on... Everyone has fascia in the body, and daily life puts strains on it. It is safe to say that EVERYBODY can benefit from having work done with the fascia.
If you still have questions, please leave a comment below, or contact me directly! I love talking about Myofascial Release! If I have peaked your interest, please find a Myofascial Release Therapist in your area, or better yet, book an appointment with me! I would be honoured to be a part of your healing journey!