What is myofascial release therapy? The hands-on approach is an effective method of improving motion and removing pain. An important facet of the approach is the body’s connective tissue system known as the fascial system. This intricate webbing has a profound effect on the way a person feels and it can be a source of great discomfort.
The fascial system is a web-like structure of connective tissue that is dense, woven through every part of the body. Fascias are present in the following areas:
- Organs: Heart, lungs, brain, liver, kidneys, and all other organs.
- Spinal cord
- Nervous system
- Circulatory system
The system is fascinating because it does not involve separate webbings, as one would imagine. Instead, it is a single structure that connects every system in the human body, as if the person were wearing a net fabric from head to toe. No part of the body exists outside of the webbed structure.
Every part of the human body is interconnected. The nose is connected to the toes, and the heart is connected to the knees through this web of connective tissue. The webbing serves an extremely important purpose; it holds the body together.
The fascia system is a support for the body, allowing different components to function independently while still tied to all other parts of the body. Part of the support involves tension in order to hold the structure together. Balance is an important aspect of the system and imbalance of tension can be the source of pain.
Myofascial release therapy seeks to promote balance by alleviating tension that may be present in the structure of the fascia. Some suggest that this approach is effective in treating a number of health conditions, as outlined in the article The “Missing Link” in Your Treatment.
Normally, the fascias are relaxed, with tension used when necessary. The web system can move without any restrictions under normal circumstances. However, some conditions can lead to a tightening of the fascia, making it less able to move freely.
• Physical trauma
• Poor posturing
• Repetitive movements
Over time, the fascia can become very tight and uncomfortable. The individual may find that his or her range of motion is restricted, flexibility is compromised, and moving can be very painful.
Myofascial release therapy releases the tension in the fascia, providing pain relief and increased mobility. This approach is most effective when it is catered to the individual. Treatment includes:
• Hands-on therapy
• Movement therapy
• Posturing techniques
• Strength training
Over time, the patient builds an awareness of tension, posturing and movements. Combined with hands-on therapy and appropriate manipulation techniques determined by the therapist, the patient can feel the results in little time.