What is myofascial release?
Myofascial Release (MFR) is also a soft tissue therapy and is used for the treatment of skeletal muscle immobility and pain. It focuses primarily on the fascia and other connective tissues Our fascia is the biological fabric that holds us together. It is a thin, tough, but elastic type of connective tissue that wraps around most of the structures in our body, including our muscles, providing support.
It is believed that our fascia can tighten; constricting our muscles, decreasing blood supply, causing pain and decreasing range of movement. An osteopathic theory suggests that tightness may be caused by overuse, disease, trauma, infection or inactivity. The aim of myofascial release is to relax contracted muscles, improve lymphatic and blood circulation, and stimulate the stretch reflex in our muscles.
With myofascial release, gentle, sustained pressure is applied to loosen and lengthen the constricting fascia. During this time, the therapist may work on breaking down adhesions between the tissues. It may take several minutes for each specific area to be worked on for the tissues to be softened and re-aligned.
Types of MFR
Direct release is sometimes known as deep tissue work which is a misnomer as some of the muscles lie on the surface of the body. This method uses force or weight, with practitioners using tools, knuckles or elbows to slowly stretch the fascia, hoping to bring about elongation and mobility.
Indirect release is a gentler method where the practitioner applies less pressure, encouraging the fascia to slowly unwind itself until greater movement is achieved.