Myofascial Release is a technique used by a variety of manual practitioners, including massage therapists. Breaking it down, “myo” refers to muscle, which is what we all think about when we talk about massage therapy. Muscles, however, are only part of the equation. “Fascia” is the web of connective tissue that interconnects our entire body, holding our muscles, bones, nerves and organs in place. In this case, we are specifically referring to the fascia that wraps around our muscles and individual muscle fibers, but in reality we address all fascia.
In a healthy, perfect state, fascia is able to move without restriction. We all experience some form of trauma over time, however, and these incidences, whether large or small, lead to tension and adhesions. This limits the pliability of our fascia and its ability to slide smoothly along adjacent structures. These restrictions can be caused by anything from poor posture to whiplash, and in turn, our body develops symptoms of pain, altered sensation, and/or limits to our range of motion.
With myofascial release, our goal is to first assess and determine where the point of restriction is. Because fascia is a continuous web throughout the body, it is important to remember that symptoms in the shoulder may actually be caused from restrictions in your lower back. Try not to think we’re crazy when we aren’t always treating exactly where the pain is! Using a variety of techniques, our focus is then on releasing these adhesions to allow better function and movement in the body while decreasing pain.
Written by Kristi Easton, Registered Massage Therapist