Massage Techniques: Myofascial Release
Myofascial Release (MFR) is gentle, sustained pressure, also known as dragging, applied directly to the skin to areas of tension and pain that helps to heat and melt fascia.
What is Fascia?
Fascia is connective tissue throughout the body covering muscles, bones, and organs. It looks similar to a densely woven spider’s web.
Fascia is a continuous structure that exists from head to toe without interruption. With this in mind, we can begin to understand how each part of the body is connected to every other part by the fascia, like yarn in a sweater.
In its normal state fascia is pliable, relaxed and wavy. It has the ability to stretch and move without restriction. When we experience an injury or trauma, the fascia loses its pliability. It becomes tight, restricted, and a source of tension throughout the body.
These restrictions effect our flexibility and stability. These restrictions are a determining factor in our ability to handle stress and perform daily activities.
Is Myofascial Release the right treatment for your pain?
Research published in 2015 in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies found promising results when applying Myofascial Release techniques to clients suffering from low back pain, fibromyalgia, plantar fasciitis, headaches, and fatigue.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and tenderness in localized areas.
Two high-quality studies of fibromyalgia found that MFR help alleviate symptoms. The first study showed that ongoing MFR treatment reduced anxiety, sleep disturbance, and pain. The second study showed that MFR improved pain, sensory, and affective dimensions. Together these studies seem to show the benefit of MFR as a complementary therapy for fibromyalgia.
Tennis Elbow is the inflammation of the tendons of the elbow caused by overuse of the muscles of the forearm. Two moderate to high-quality studies of MFR for computer professionals with tennis elbow showed large, significant and long-lasting reductions in pain, disability, and grip weakness.
Low Back Pain
A high quality study showed that using MFR as an adjunct therapy to specific back exercises was effective in reducing pain and disability.
Limited Range of Motion
A moderate- quality study of hamstring and quadriceps flexibility showed MFR was effective as stretching for improving range of motion.
Incorporating Myofascial Release Into Your Next Massage
Studies like these illustrate how Myofascial Release can effect a positive change in your health and well being. Myofascial Release techniques can easily be incorporated into your next massage session, or sessions can be dedicated to MFR techniques exclusively. When massage focuses on fascia, rather than muscle, with the intention of melting tension and adhesions, clients can bear witness to the restorative effects of Myofascial Release.