What is Fascia?

To understand Myofascial Release, we must first understand Fascia. Visualize a spider web and its a complex mesh-like structure. If you pull one end of the web, its many interwoven connections will cause a pull on the other end of the web. Now imagine that web going through your entire body, around every organ, blood vessel, nerve and muscle. This organ (a.k.a connective tissue) extends from head to toe-it is effectively the stocking of the body and the largest organ, maintaining our physical structure.

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What Does Fascia Have To Do With Pain?

Our body reacts to pain using a protective response, also know as our "fight, flight or freeze" response, that while, initially is a necessary protective response, over time can lead to increased pain, autonomic holding patterns, buildup of toxins and reduced blood flow and oxygen to the area. When we experience a slight amount of connective tissue damage—this can be due to a physical injury psychological stress or trauma, or even something like an ulcer—pain signals are sent to the spinal cord which then triggers the muscles around the injury to contract in order to provide support and protection for the surrounding tissues. More signals are sent, and more muscles tighten to protect the growing epicenter of pain. This response, left unchecked, creates a progressive cycle of pain as more blood flow is restricted to the contracted area. 

Medical practitioners cannot easily image and view fascia in a living being. Currently, modern imaging techniques cannot detect the intricacies and condition of the fascia in order to make a direct diagnosis. For this reason alone, pain developed in the connective tissue often gets medically overlooked or misdiagnosed. A common scenario is the client who has been referred to multiple practitioners over an extended period of time and has not received conclusive information about the source of their pain.

What Is Fascial Restriction?

Fascia can heal itself. The problem with this? Fascia doesn’t typically heal in its original configuration. Instead of restoring to its previous flat and smooth texture, fascia may heal into a jumbled mass. Called fascial restrictions, fascia can literally stick to existing muscle or developing scar tissue. As this connective tissue stiffens through adhesion, fascia—rich in nerve endings in and of itself—can entrap surrounding nerves, leading to restrictions and a host of painful consequences. Likewise, fascial restriction limits the independent motion and friction-reducing capabilities of fascia. This leads to muscles that cramp and spasm, as well as nerves that consistently misfire. All of these instances of improper healing can lead to pain, limitations in mobilty, and a disorganized system. Moreover, because all fascia is interconnected, local damage to fascia can result in global pain. Even in areas of the body that have not been directly affected by external stimuli. 

What does a Myofascial Release session consist of?

Myofascial Release is a safe and very effective hands-on technique that involves applying sustained pressure over areas of tightness while intuitively observing and responding to individual body responses. The body is treated as a whole and clients are encouraged to tune into the signals of their body to facilitate healing on the deepest level possible. 

Upon an initial evaluation a client health history and personal background is obtained. Then a full body hands-on and visual assessment will be given; taking into account joint alignment and positioning, posture, movement patterns, ROM, and feel of the overall connective tissue throughout the body. The therapist will be feeling for tissue range, hardness, knots or "ropiness"; where restrictions or blockages may be present. 

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.

Benefits

Most common benefits:

  • Muscle relaxation: MFR helps reduce and eliminate stored tension in muscles, which aids in alleviating aches and pains.

  • Suppression or reduction of trigger point sensitivity and pain: MFR promotes the release of endorphins to help reduce pain.

  • Reduced soreness and improved tissue recovery: MFR increases circulation, allowing oxygen and other nutrients to reach the muscles and other soft tissues.

  • Improved joint range of motion, which helps restore optimal length-tension relationships: MFR helps prepare joints for increased range of motion and loads that accompany stretching, strengthening and other dynamic movement exercises.

  • Reduced adhesions and scar tissue that improves the elasticity of muscles and other soft tissues, to improve movement and reduce pain.

  • Regulation of the production of compounds called cytokines, which play a role in decreasing inflammation.

  • Improves digestion.

  • Encourages better sleep patterns.

  • Increases mental clarity and focus.

  • Provides a sense of calm and overall well being!

 

It can also help soothe the symptoms of:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome

  • Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder

  • Muscle and joint pain

  • Migraine headaches

  • Back and neck pain

  • Fibromyalgia

  • Injuries due to poor shoulder or hip alignment

  • Emotional Trauma

  • Anxiety and Depression

  • Insomnia 

"The fascia forms the largest system in the body as it is the system that touches all other systems."  -James L. Oschman, PhD