So many of the clients who come to our North Portland massage studio are very curious about Myofascial Release and Trigger Point Therapy. The first question we tend to get is: “What is Myofascial Release and how is it different from a “normal” massage?”
This is an interesting question, and for the sake of simplicity, our response tends to be:
Myofascial Release is a type of massage specifically focused on the fascia (see definition below), which is why a lot of oil or lubrication is not recommended or required, as is the case with traditional massage. This allows the therapist to engage the fascia directly to improve holding patterns in the body that cause chronic pain. There’s also a movement therapy component, in which the practitioner utilizes stretching, holding, and mobilizing the joints in order to assist the tissue in unwinding.
Easing soft tissue restrictions is one of the primary goals of Myofascial Release, in addition to improving poor postural habits formed by excessive sitting, driving, stress, heavy lifting, and the over-use of technology (looking down on a mobile phone, or sitting in front of the computer for long periods of time).
Before we proceed with discussing the astounding benefits of Myofascial Release, we’d like to briefly explain what fascia is and how it plays a role in mobility in the human body – or a lack thereof it.
Fascia is an interconnected and continuous web-like matrix of specialized tissue that surrounds, connects, and supports and also compartmentalizes every structure of the body at all depths of tissue. Typically fascia is considered to have three layers: The first is called Superficial Fascia, located beneath the skin and attaches it to the tissues and muscles below, surrounding and blending with muscle tissue, nerves, bones and arteries. The second layer is the Deep Layer: the abdominal, visceral, pericardial and pleural structures and tissues. And the third is the Dural Fascia located in the spinal cord and brain.
Fascia tends to be more dense in areas that require more support or protection, and less so in others in order for the body to remain mobile with the least restrictions possible. Under normal conditions fascia tends to be in a relaxed and flexible state. However, both physical and emotional trauma, aging, and the effects of poor postural habits all will encourage fascia to become and sometimes remain in a state that is restricted and tense which translates to the rest of the body oftentimes as pain or restriction, putting us at risk for more postural compensation. When shortened muscles, inflammation or scar tissue (also called adhesions) forms and hardens in an area following injury, surgery, or from less-than-efficient posture, the rest of the body is affected and there are many ways it can manifest. Pain, restricted movement, muscle and fascial tension, or a range of other sensations can be felt locally as well as in adjacent tissues and structures; sometimes in a part of the body seemingly distant from the affected or injured area.
Everyday or specific activities, the lack of activity, injury and trauma, chronic stress, postural habits and compensation patterns our bodies take on in lieu of these factors are all primary considerations under the tapestry of Myofascial Release (MFR). These types of therapies can involve the therapist and client setting goals for the treatment and notating the progress, or MFR techniques may be used during an integrative session as a compliment to other modalities.
Myofascial Release techniques have a wide range of potential benefits including (but not limited to):
- Corrects muscle imbalances
- Improves joint range of motion and overall flexibility
- Can help alleviate headaches or symptoms of migraines
- Reduced adhesions and scar tissue (from surgeries or injuries)
- Relieves muscle soreness and joint stress
- Promotion of healing are often part of the intent of the therapy including feeling more grounded and centered in your body; calms the nervous system
- Decreased overall effects of stress
- Better warmups for active individuals
- Increased blood flow and tissue hydration
Myofascial Release therapy aims to address and support a variety of chronic pain conditions, and is usually repeated over several sessions for ongoing efficiency. Self-myofascial release techniques, such as with a foam roller may also be recommended which can be performed at home in order to help support the effects of the treatment.
Our clients that experience Myofascial Release therapy at blue marigold massage rave about the benefits of this amazing work. If you’re curious to try it, or have experienced first hand how effective this technique can be for the body, then click on the “Book Now” button to your right and choose “Myofascial Release” as the modality of your choice when booking.