Connective Tissue Massage, also known as Myofascial Release, is a form of massage that is aimed at releasing Myofascial (connective tissue) restrictions in the body. This treatment has been known to relieve chronic tension, improve posture, increase the body’s range of motion and improve the overall health of a person’s body and mind. The techniques of Connective Tissue Massage can be delivered in a targeted way by a professional practitioner, or can be used by any person wishing to perform a general purpose massage.
Since it is interconnected web encompassing the whole body, fascia may be the root of a variety of health problems. Tension the fascia of one part of the body spreads over time to other parts of the body. Connective Tissue Massage aims to release this tension in the fascia and thus generate improvements across a person’s whole body.
Connective tissue massage techniques have developed over a number of years. The term Connective Tissue Massage was used by German physiotherapist, Elizabeth Dicke, in the the 1920s. She had a medical condition whereby her legs were prone to coldness and the development of gangrene. Elizabeth Dicke noticed, while performing stretches of her lower back, that a feeling of warmth spread into her legs. Through progressive use of these stretches, the condition of her legs improved. This episode led Elizabeth Dicke to further develop an understanding of how connective tissue influences health.
The term Myofascial was introduced by Dr. Janet G. Travell in the 1940s. Later, in 1976, Travell would refer to Myofascial Trigger Points. The popular technique known as Rolfing is also related. This was introduce by Dr. Ida Rolf in the 1950s. Rolfing makes use of the Myofascial system in order to modify a person’s posture.
Connective tissue is present in the space between muscles and fibres, also forming a layer around blood vessels to protect them. Generally, this connective tissue can be thought of as a continuous elastic sheath providing structural support for the body’s organs and bones. Connective tissue, especially in some areas more than others, is delicate and may easily become damaged.
Connective Tissue Massage is targeted at increasing blood circulation to areas restricted by damaged tissue, so that scar tissue and knots may be broken down. Connective Tissue Massage also tries to get into the muscle tissue to treat deeper layers, help to heal areas of pain, tension and soreness, and improve general mobility and range of motion.
Preliminary techniques are used to prepare for the connective tissue massage. The practitioner will test the body for reaction to different pressures, determining where treatment is most required. Oils and lotions may not be used by a practitioner of Connective Tissue Massage, as the strokes are different than those used in ordinary massage.
The connective tissue massage therapist will devotethe majority of a session towards releasing tension stored in the deep tissue structures of the muscle and fascia, relying on deep, intense strokes. Sometimes a chronic knot, or adhesion, will be discovered by the practitioner. This indicates that the patient may need to make series changes to their lifestyle in order for the knot to be permanently eliminated. Although massage therapy may lessen the tension stored in the knot, the patient should ensure that he or she actively resists storing tension in that area of the body.
Connective Tissue Massage is popular with dancers and athletes as a natural means of enhancing performance. It may also help in the prevention, and rehabilitation from, many types of injuries.