Myofascial Release is basically stretching of the fascia. Fascia is a thin tissue that covers organs in the body. It covers every muscle and every fiber within each muscle. Muscle stretching is stretching the myofascial unity, both the fascia and the muscle. When muscle fibers are injured, the fibers and fascia which surrounds it become short and tight. This stress is transmitted through the fascia to other parts of the body, resulting in pain and other symptoms.
The stretch in this technique is guided by feedback the therapist feels from the patient’s body. This feedback reflects how much force to use, the direction of the stretch and how long to stretch. Small areas of muscle are stretched at a time. Sometimes the therapist will use two fingers to stretch a small part of a muscle. The feedback the therapist feels determines which muscles are stretched and in what order.
Each Myofascial Release technique contains the same steps. The therapist will locate an area of tightness. They will apply a stretch to the tight area. The therapist will wait for the tissue to relax and then increases the stretch. This process is repeated until the area is fully relaxed. Then, they will move to the next area with the same technique.
The therapist is able to find sore spots just by feel. Patients may be unable to determine some sore spots or have grown used to them until the massage therapist finds them. The size and sensitivity of these sore spots, called Myofascial Trigger Points, will decrease with treatment.
Myofascial release is generally a very gentle massage. Some patients fall asleep during treatment. Others later go home and take a nap. Most patients find Myofascial Release to be a very relaxing.
Myofascial Release is used to equalize muscle tension throughout the body. Unequal muscle tension can compress nerves and muscles causing pain. Progress is measured by a decrease in the patient’s pain and by an improvement in overall posture.
Myofascial release benefits include improving nerve function, increase circulation and increase immune system.