Myofascial release is a passive stretching technique that uses feedback from the patient’s tissues to determine the direction, amplitude, and length of the stretch. The therapist relies on this feedback to achieve maximum relaxation of the tight or restricted tissues without the discomfort often associated with intense stretching. The purpose is to “unstick” the fibers of the muscles and fascia, releasing deeply held patterns of tension. This relaxes and re-educates the muscle, freeing it to operate within its full capacity.
Myofascial models were first described in the osteopathic literature of the 1950s, and our understanding of the fascial system has grown considerably since then.
Fascia is a thin, tough, elastic type of connective tissue that wraps most structures within the human body, including muscle, nerves, vessels, and organs. Fascia supports and protects these structures. Fascia is made primarily of elastin, collagen, and ground substance. It also has contractile properties. As a whole, the properties of fascia make it a uniquely designed network that acts to dissipate forces experienced by the human body.
When certain tissue contractures and smooth muscle-like cellular contractions exist, the fascia’s ability to dissipate forces can be negatively affected. This can lead to pathologies like low back instability, tension headaches, shoulder dysfunction, plantar fasciitis, or fibromyalgia. In addition, osteopathic theory proposes that this connective tissue can become restricted due to psychogenic disease, overuse, trauma, infectious agents, or inactivity. This often results in pain, muscle tension, and corresponding diminished blood flow. Myofascial release is a very powerful and effective tool used at Synergy to address these common dysfunctions.