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Myofascial release technique

 

Myofascial release is a safe and effective hands-on technique that works on the fascia to release restrictions. Movement or pressure is applied very slowly and gently and held for some time, at least 2 minutes but often more.

Myofascial is different from massage because it works very gently through the skin into the fascia surrounding the muscles gradually stretching out restricted parts of the fascia. As the fascia releases the therapist slowly sinks deeper into the next layer of fascia within the muscle to find the next restriction. Massage works directly into the muscles often quite deeply.

Techniques are applied gently so that the tissue can slowly adapt and permanently change. Forcing the tissues does not achieve effective or lasting results. The body tends to tighten and protect itself against too much force. Less is definitely more!

Time is another important difference between myofascial release and other manual therapies such as joint mobilisation and manipulation. Techniques are sustained to allow the strong fibres in the fascia to lengthen permanently. The tissue also becomes softer, more fluid and hydrated. Techniques applied for less than 2 minutes will temporarily lengthen the elastic fibres in the muscles and fascia and the tissues will feel looser for a while but gradually tighten up again. This is why you may feel better for a short time after some treatments or after you stretch but symptoms gradually come back again. It is like stretching a rubber band – if stretched for a short time it will quickly spring back to its original shape but if left stretched around an object for some time it will remain permanently lengthened.

Even if you only have symptoms in one part of your body, it is likely that you will have fascial restrictions in other areas. At your initial assessment we will look and feel for where you have restrictions. Myofascial release treats the whole body and normally you will receive treatment in several areas of your body in each session.

The fascia is a continuous web of tissue and therefore when we treat one area you may be aware of sensations in a completely different part of your body. This is a good guide to where else we need to treat.

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What does myofascial release feel like?

 

Initially you may just feel a slight pressure. As the fascia slowly stretches you may gradually feel a range of sensations from mild pulling to more intense symptoms and then often a pleasant feeling of relaxation or movement as the fascia releases.

It is common to feel sensations in other areas of the body as well because the fascia is continuous throughout the body.

 

 

Myofascial Release

Myofascial release is a unique manual therapy that applies gentle sustained movement and pressure to release tight areas in the myofascial tissues throughout the body. It aims to remove pressure from pain sensitive structures and free restrictions so that the body can move effortlessly without pain.

Myofascial Release in Putney

 

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What is fascia ?

Fascia is a connective tissue which extends continuously from the head to toes surrounding every organ, tissue and cell of the body.

  • Fascia is made up of 3 different components: collagen, elastin and ground substance.
  • The collagen is arranged in fibrils and provides strength, the elastin is rubbery and provides elasticity and the ground substance provides lubrication and absorbs shock and stress.
  • Healthy fascia is fluid and pliable and allows our muscles to be flexible and our bodies to move without pain

What does myofascial mean?

Myo means muscle and myofascial tissue is the fascia that is related to muscles. Fascia acts as a shock absorber for muscle and when muscles are damaged from injury and strain the fascia is damaged more than the muscle cell themselves.

The myofascial tissue is an integral part of the whole network of fascia throughout the body and treating the myofascial tissues can also affect other parts of the body.

What does fascia look like?

Fascia looks like a web of white glistening fibres. When you pull a piece of meat apart the thin white tissue surrounding parts of the meat is fascia. This delicate tissue surrounds the whole muscle, individual muscle fibres and individual muscle cells. The fascia forms a continuous 3 dimensional web within and around a muscle which in turn is continuous with the web of tissue around all the muscles in the body.

It is not possible to see the fascia on x-rays or scans which is why it has been ignored until recently. However, with advancing technology more is being understood about the fascia using powerful microscopes and sophisticated imaging.

What does the fascia do?

Fascia supports the body and gives it strength, elasticity and cushioning. It is an essential part of the structure and mechanics of the body. That is not all, the fascia surrounds and connects every cell in the body forming a communication system. It can therefore affect all the different processes that take place in the body, known as the physiology of the body. The myofascial tissue supports muscle cells and plays a very important role in repairing muscle damage.

What causes damage to the fascia?

The network of fascial tissue can be damaged and restricted through physical and emotional injury, inflammation and diseases, poor postures and moving with faulty body mechanics and muscle control.

What happens when the fascia is damaged?

Myofascial Release Sweater EffectWhen fascia is injured it dries out and becomes more solid. The fibres in the fascia become shorter and thicker forming restrictions. Restrictions can put large amounts of pressure on the surrounding tissues causing pain and other symptoms. Because the whole body is inter-connected by fascia, restrictions can also pull and drag on the fascia much further away – this is known as the ‘sweater effect’ picture. The sweater effect in the body means that fascia restrictions in one part of the body can have widespread effects

 

Over time the fascial restrictions in the body can build up and the body gradually gets tighter and pulled out of alignment. This can become a viscous circle as the body is now more prone to injury and more damage to the fascia.

How do I know if I have a fascial restrictions?

Fascial restrictions cannot be seen on x-rays and scans. Sophisticated tests and imaging can show the fascia but at the moment these are only used in for research rather than in every day clinical practice.

However, fascial restrictions can often be felt, especially in the muscles. The tissue can feel hard and tight and painful when pressed. The effects of restrictions can sometimes also be seen, pulling parts of the body out of alignment.

Fascial restrictions can make the muscles feel tight, tender and weak and joints feel stiff and aching as well as a whole host of other symptoms. The more restrictions you have in your body the more likely you are to suffer pain, lack energy and find using your body hard work. Having lots of restrictions in the fascia is often described like wearing a straight jacket.