What is Fascia?
Fascia is a type of connective tissue that makes a three dimensional web in the body. It supports, encompasses and protects every other structure contained within us. Amazingly, it is a single, uninterrupted sheet of tissue that extends from inside the skull to the soles of the feet, from the interior to the exterior of the body, helping make the shape and form your body takes.
When fascia becomes restricted due to injury, trauma, surgery, prolonged bad posture or inflammatory responses it can cause lines of tension. You experience these areas of tension as pain and discomfort. Because of the global reach of fascia, often the symptoms experienced are distant to the site of the original dysfunction. Regular hospital tests cannot detect fascial dysfunctions and so the cause of the pain often goes undiagnosed. This results in chronic and unsolved pain in the body with the associated factors that affect your quality of life.
Myofascial Release Therapy
Myofascial Release (MFR) is a form of bodywork, a therapeutic approach, that has evolved with increased understanding of the body. The principles of the techniques are rooted in fluid dynamics which enable a change in the state of fascia. Essentially, I apply sustained pressure for a period of time (about five minutes) and follow the changes in the tissue, this means lines of tension in the fascia are eliminated which reduces pain and discomfort.
MFR treats the body as a whole 3D structure rather than focussing on areas in isolation. Rather than treating for a particular symptom I look at the body as a whole to create total body balance and function. As an example: if you have a repetitive shoulder injury that doesn’t respond to treatment such as massage or physiotherapy MFR would seek to bring other areas of the body into balance.
Benefits of Myofascial Release
- Elimination of general pain and discomfort
- Promotion of relaxation and wellbeing
- Improved joint range of motion and muscle function
- Increased proprioception
- Emotional release
- General increase in health
The above is a general list of potential benefits of MFR therapy. To share my own experience, my body felt lighter, more mobile, my non-specific aches and pains disappeared after treatment . I felt like my body had changed shape as the tissues relaxed and most of all, receiving it is amazingly relaxing, both physically and mentally.
Myofascial Release Treatments
The treatments are quite different to massage. The initial consultation is more in depth and you’ll have a postural analysis, noticing any imbalances. There is more interaction between us as I find out what you’re feeling and where the sensations are occurring. You’ll be in shorts and sports bra or vest top for the ladies and shorts for the men and you will need to move around on the table a bit more.
We’ll always start with a postural assessment to find out what’s going on in your body and the treatment may not be on the area of discomfort. The hands on work is also different to regular massage. I will hold sustained mid to light pressure for at least five minutes per area which allows the pressure to act on the fascia. I could also use muscle energy techniques, stretches and skin rolling depending on what’s required.
Everyone can benefit from MFR. If you’ve been experiencing long term discomfort and not had success with conventional medical approaches then MFR may help. It’s also great for conditions like fibromyalgia which is thought to be a fascial dysfunction.