Myofascial release

Myofascial release may be something that you’ve never heard of; it is a type of soft tissue therapy used to release tension from certain parts of the body and to realign the body. Let’s break down the word myofascial, then you will better understand how this type of therapy got its name. “Myo” means muscle and “fascia” means band. The fascia in the body is tough connective tissue that spreads throughout the whole body in a web shape, everywhere from the head to the toes; it surrounds every muscle, nerve, bone, and organ. Through this type of therapy, pain and restriction of motion are restored to normal; the pain should disappear and you should be better able to move as a result. Let’s take a deeper look at this type of therapy treatment.

How it Works
The tissues in the body, and therefore the fascia, can become tight and restricted due to various reasons, including poor posture, physical injury, inflammation, trauma, and illness. For example, if a muscle is damaged, the fascia surrounding it will become short and tight. Tightness in the fascia can lead to, all in all, restriction of muscle and other tissues. Irritation of this tissue causes more inflammation, which causes fibrosis, which is a thickening of the connective tissue, which in turn causes more muscle inflammation. It is thought that special massage can relieve this tension and tightness, leading to relief of the pain associated with it. The gentle pressure of massage eliminates the pain and restores motion.

Types of Myofascial Release Therapy

There are two main types of myofascial release therapy: direct and indirect.

Direct. Direct myofascial therapy, or deep tissue work, is intended for relieving fascia restriction. Practitioners use knuckles, elbows, or other gentle tools as a mode to apply force and slowly stretch the fascia. The end goal is often a change in myofascial structure by stretching, elongation of fascia, or activating adhesive tissues. Layer by layer, the fascia will be changed.

Indirect. Indirect myofascial therapy is a little more gentle and subtle in how it works. It uses less force in order to allow the fascia to slowly unwind itself. Heat and blood flow to the area will return the fascia back to normal; this technique is centered more on self-healing because the body is working, with a little assistance, to get the fascia back to the state to which it should be.

Conditions that are Treated with Myofascial Therapy
Lower back pain is the most common condition for which myofascial therapy is used; however, it is not the only one. It is also said that headaches, migraines, whiplash, pelvic pain, neck pain, sports injuries, chronic pain, disc problems, pelvic floor dysfunction,  neurological dysfunction, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, carpal tunnel, jaw pain, scoliosis, sciatica, myofascial pain syndrome, and various women’s health issues (such as menstrual pain, vulvodynia, painful intercourse, and urinary frequency) can all be healed with this type of therapy.

The benefits of myofascial release treatment should be obvious: elimination of pain and restoration of range of motion. Some people may find it more beneficial than others, depending on the type of condition being treated. It couldn’t hurt to have a consultation with a practitioner of myofascial release; it may be hard to find someone in your area that does this sort of work. Also, it may take multiple sessions for the pain to be completely eliminated and the motion to be completely restored. If you’re for alternative medicine, this would definitely be the thing to try. There aren’t really any known adverse effects, so it’s just a matter of trying it to see if you can benefit.

Last updated on Dec 12th, 2010 and filed under Alternative Medicine. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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