Fascia is the connective tissue that wraps around muscles and internal organs, attaches muscles to bones and bones to bones. An example of fascia is the thin, tough layer on top of a boneless, skinless chicken breast.
After trauma, repetitive stress, or with postural imbalances, the fascia in the body becomes sticky and restricted. This technique works to free up the restrictions and thus improve movement, posture and alignment. This technique is particularly effective when the body feels really tight, as though it can’t move freely. Areas of facial tension are detected and released by the therapist’s gentle palpations.
Myofascial release relieves headaches, whiplash, neck pain, middle back pain, lower back pain, shoulder pain, sciatica, carpal tunnel syndrome, thoracic outlet syndrome, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, and muscular pain.
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 “un-stick” 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 described in Osteopathic literature of the 1950s, and our understanding of the fascial system has grown considerably since then. Many contemporary treatment approaches focus on the fascia, including connective tissue massage, Rolfing, strain counterstrain, and soft tissue mobilization.