'Myofascial". To understand this interesting word, let's break it down. 'Myo' means muscle and 'fascia' is the connective tissue that is found throughout our body. Fascia is a densely woven substance that surrounds and penetrates every muscle, bone, artery, vein and nerve as well as every organ of the body. Fascia that is found within the muscle unit, runs throughout the muscle fiber. Fascia also connects our muscles to our bones. This collagenous fiber is normally soft and pliable but can become restricted, tight, hardened or thickened (as in scare tissue). When this happens, it can restrict the movement of muscles and the bones to which they are attached. When movement becomes limited to any degree, the body will compensate in an attempt to bring balance back to our overall system. This compensation can cause further stress and strain and often results in increased pain. Restricted fascia can even impair the flow of hydration, nourishment, and oxygen into our tissues and cells while inhibiting the release of cellular wastes and trapped toxins from within and around these cells. This can impact the function of organs in areas where restrictions are located. Because fascia is one continuous structure that exists from head to toe, restrictions can become like a pull in a sweater. As fiber is tugged in once place, tightened strands of fascial tissue can put tension on other areas of the body.
Accidents, scarring, trauma, inflammation, repeated postural stresses and/or surgery can create myofascial restrictions that can produce pressures of up to 2,000 pounds per square inch on pain sensitive structures. This can impose a“straight-jacket” of force, which may cause pain, headaches, anxiety and other symptoms. Myofascial Release is a safe and very effective manual therapy that involves applying gentle, sustained pressure into the myofascial connective tissue restrictions. As gentle pressure is applied slowly, the fascia begins to “release” or elongate. This amazing hands-on technique helps to soften and open up (or "release") these restricted areas, eliminating pain, restoring motion and improving function.
What is an MFR treatment session like?
MFR is a manual, hands-on technique that is very different from traditional massage therapy. Although treatment is performed directly on the skin, no creams, lotions or oils are used. This enables the therapist to accurately detect connective tissue restrictions and apply the appropriate amount of sustained pressure without sliding across the skin, in order to facilitate release of the fascia. While traditional massage is generally done through a continual gliding or sliding across the skin, MFR utilizes a prolonged pressure over specific areas where restrictions are located and uncovered. At times treatment can be quite gentle, and you may think that nothing is happening. Other times deeper restrictions may be uncovered, bringing about a variety of sensations as these restricted areas release. For Myofascial Release appointments, I recommend that women bring a pair of loose fitting shorts and a sports bra or a two piece bathing suit to wear during the treatment session. Men can wear or bring gym shorts, or something similar. As a therapist, I also promote education on postural and movement awareness along with self treatment instruction as a means to enhance and maintain optimal overall health.
For more information about Myofascial Release Therapy or to schedule an appointment call 205-690-5075.