What is Myofascial Release Therapy?

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How Can Myofascial Release Help Me?

Do you experience chronic pain or the feeling of chronically strained muscles – even post-workout muscle soreness? Myofascial release might be the answer. It’s a way for us to work our trigger points to release the underlying pressure. You see people all the time performing this on themselves at the gym by rolling on a foam roller. Can myofascial release help you?

Myofascial Release Needed?

Myofascial Release Therapy might sound like a strange and complicated procedure. However, do not be intimidated by the technical-sounding name!

It is actually a very useful form of therapy that can treat a lot of forms of physical tension, immobility, or pain.

What is fascia?

Fascia is a type of connective tissue. Connective tissue refers to the types of tissue that support the structure and form of your body.

Tendons and ligaments are well-known connective tissues that you may already be familiar with. Fascia may be less famous than tendons, but it is equally important. It is a thin layer of connective tissue that wraps around your muscles and other parts of your body.

There are layers of facia just under the skin and also layers deep inside your body. It is a tough tissue, but it needs to be flexible and elastic in order to properly function. However, it can become too tight sometimes.

Problematic tension can arise as a result of an injury or through the cumulative effect of long-term strain.

What is a trigger point?

When an area of fascia becomes too tight, sometimes a trigger point forms. This is a localized area of very sensitive and very tight tissue that significantly inhibits the movement of the underlying musculature.

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What does myofascial release therapy do?

It is a type of therapy that treats over-taught fascia and trigger points. By releasing tension in the fascia, a myofascial release therapist can relieve pain and increase mobility in problem areas.

Using their hands or other tools, the therapist will apply pressure in order to stretch and extend tight areas of your fascia.

[Editor’s Note: As in the this picture, you see that many people perform this therapy on themselves. There are many tools out there (foam rollers, bars, balls…etc.) that can help you release your trigger points – in essence performing myofascial release therapy on yourself.]

What can myofascial release therapy treat?

Areas of muscle that feel constantly tight or strained are frequently candidates for myofascial release therapy. When the fascia becomes bound up and tight, the muscle tissue underneath is immobilized. Blood flow can be restricted, which exacerbates the problem.

Long term strain, such as lower back pain, can lead to myofascial pain. More acute injuries, like a sprained joint, can also cause tight areas of fascia. Neck, shoulder, and back pain are some of the most common areas treated with this therapy, but are not the only potential areas.

If you struggling with chronic tightness or strain anywhere in your body, it is a good idea to seek out a consultation for myofascial release therapy.

Wrap-Up: Distinction from massage therapy

There are many similarities between myofascial release therapy and massage therapy. However, there are also some important differences. Both types of therapy relieve pain and tension in the body by applying physical pressure to certain areas. A crucial difference is in the tissue that is treated.

While massage therapy primarily seeks to relax muscles, myofascial release therapy focuses on connective tissue in addition to muscle.

This shift in focus also requires a somewhat different approach. While an ordinary massage therapist use kneading movements to increase relaxation in myofascial release therapy, on the other hand, uses a more sustained pressure in order to stretch out areas of tension.

Paul Graver

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