The name of this specialty, Myofascial Release, can be understood by taking a look at the words; ‘my’ is the medical term for the muscle part of this concept, joined by the ‘o’ to ‘fascial’ which refers to the connective tissue component. As a gross over-simplification, think of a Tootsie Roll, the kind with the twisty ends on the wrapper.
The candy inside is the muscle fiber and the wrapper on the outside is the fascia, a type of connective tissue. It is helpful to understand that the fascia is a dense, white fibrous tissue with great strength, very tough. Each muscle fiber is surrounded by this tough fascia, bundles of muscle fibers are wrapped again and there is another layer of fascia covering the outside of each muscle. Long straps of fascia connect structures at great distances from each other, containing within the straps several areas of imbedded muscles. With the muscles so thoroughly contained inside the fascia, it is all but impossible for the muscle fiber to move without the fascia enabling the movement under direction from the nerves.
There are locations along the straps where muscles are near the attachments on the bones. The thickened fascial attachments on the bones are called tendons. Think of how the twisty ends (roughly similar to the tendons) of the Tootsie Roll wrapper are longer than the candy inside. The tendons attach the myofascial structure to moveable bones. As explained above in the information on Neuromuscular Therapy, nerves deliver instructions from the brain and direct the myofascial tissue to contract and perform various movements. The last term, ‘Release,’ is the intention of this healing therapy.
Myofascial Release is an important technique the massage therapist can use to have a positive effect on tissues that experience the stresses and strains of daily living.
Most often very little, if any, lotion is used in this work. The idea is to locate areas of overly-tight fascia, partly revealed in the pre-treatment assessment and partly in the palpation work. Once the therapist has a plan of how they intend to apply Myofascial Release, they position themselves to achieve greatest effect. Through the use of fist, fingers or palms, and pressure, the therapist contacts fascial tissue, often in deep muscle layers. The pressure and friction of the contact gradually allow a change to occur as the tough fascia softens and releases. Usually there is an immediate increase in the client’s ability to move farther and with greater ease and comfort. Myofascial Release is a very powerful tool in the therapist’s range of skills.
Have questions or ready to book an appointment? Call Debra at 727-466-6655.