What is Myofascial Release?

The fascia is a tough, web like three-dimensional material that is located throughout the body. It is found under the last layer of skin and over the organs, blood vessels, nerves, bones and muscles. The fascia supports and stabilizes and can affect posture. It acts as a shock absorber during any type of motion. It can be a major area of inflammatory processes and it can become damaged.

The fascial system can be altered or damaged by trauma, posture or inflammation. The result is a tightening and pressure to nerves, muscles, bones or organs. The result is enormous pressure to sensitive structures, pain and decreased function or lack of motion. The pressure applied to surrounding structures of damaged fascia can equal more than 2000 pounds per square inch.

How can the fascial system be returned to its normal function? Myofascial release is a “hands on” approach to fascial restrictions. A provider and/or therapist will palpate the body and tissue to evaluate for damage by palpating for tightness and observing for vaso-motor responses. Once the areas of restriction are identified, then gentle pressure is applied toward the direction of restriction. The elastic component eventually releases with pressure and patience. The tissue is followed down a track identifying different barriers and pressure continues to be applied until release is felt. The procedure can be performed with the hands or with tools. The release cannot be forced or hurried and it is felt with continuous gentle pressure.

A published research study evaluated the benefits of Myofascial release therapy in regards to anxiety, quality of sleep, depression, quality of life and pain in patients suffering from these symptoms of Fibromyalgia Syndrome. 64 patients were selected ages 18-65 and placed in a randomized experimental or placebo group. After completing a 20-week massage myofascial release program the treatment was found to significantly reduce pain as well as sensitivity to pain, improve sleep, quality of sleep and quality of life.

The goal of Myofascial release is to come as close as possible to returning the structure back to its original form. It can be utilized for a variety of diagnoses related to pain, spasm, spasticity, restrictions in mobility, sleep and anxiety. Returning the fascia to its previous form results in restoration of function and alleviation of symptoms. A comprehensive treatment program would include evaluation for pain and restrictions. It can include trigger point therapy with lidocaine and Marcaine to relax and relieve pain prior to treatment followed by; Myofascial release with hands or specific tools, warm or cold compression for comfort, exercise and flexibility program, and body mechanics instructions.

At the institute for Functional Health we can evaluate your pain and provide you a comprehensive treatment program that includes Myofascial release therapy. We can provide a complimentary consultation to build a personal program to relieve pain, improve function and overall quality of life.