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Myofascial Release Massage

What is Myofascial Release Therapy?

Myofascial release therapy is a hands-on technique used to manage myofascial pain. "Myo" means muscle, and "Fascial" refers to the connective tissue that covers and supports the muscles throughout your body.

 

During myofascial release therapy, I don't focus specifically on your muscles; I focus on releasing tension in your fascial tissues.

 

Myofascial release therapy is a gentle, constant massage that releases tightness and pain throughout your myofascial tissues. First, I will locate trigger points, or knots, in your fascial tissues. Then, I'll gently apply pressure until I feel the tension release.

Neck Massage

What is Fascia?

You can think of fascia like a spider web. The stringy tissue is densely woven throughout your muscles, bones, nerves, arteries, veins, and organs. Your fascia is one continuous structure throughout your body, and each part of your body is connected to it in some way. That's why if there's a snag in the tissue in one part of your body, it can cause pain in another part of your body.

Typically, fascia is flexible and stretchy, but it's strong. It provides structural support to your body and protects your muscles. Fascia is usually able to move without any limitations. When your body experiences trauma, your fascia loses its flexibility and becomes tightened and more rigid. The tightness can lead to pain and loss of motion, which can affect your quality of life.

 

Myofascial release therapy is also called myofascial trigger point therapy, and it's because myofascial pain originates in various trigger points in your body. These trigger points are stiff areas in your fascial tissue and feel like small bumps, nodules, or knots in your muscles.

Tightened trigger points can restrict your muscle and joint movement. You may have pain at the site of a trigger point or widespread pain throughout your body. Myofascial release therapy focuses on releasing the tension in these trigger points.

Who Benefits from Myofascial Release Therapy?

Myofascial release therapy may help anyone who has tightness in their fascial tissues. Myofascial release therapy may benefit people who have experienced:

  • Physical trauma: From incidences such as falls, car accidents, or whiplash.

  • Scarring: From conditions such as frozen shoulder, burns, or surgery.

  • Inflammation: From conditions such as bursitis, osteoarthritis, or plantar fasciitis.

  • Compressed nerves: From herniated disks or carpal tunnel syndrome.

  • Repetitive stress injuries: From heavy lifting or poor posture.

What does Myofascial Release Therapy Treat?

Myofascial release therapy may be used to treat many different health conditions. These conditions may include the following:

  • Myofascial pain syndrome: Myofascial pain syndrome causes pain in your connective tissues.

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome: Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that causes pain, numbness, and weakness in your hands and wrists.

  • Low back pain: Low back pain is caused by strain on the muscles and tendons in your back. It causes a decrease in the motion and flexibility of your spine.

  • Temporomandibular joint disorder: This occurs when the muscles around the joints of your jaw become inflamed.

  • Fibromyalgia: Fibromyalgia is a long-term (chronic) illness that causes muscle and joint pain.

  • Chronic migraines: Chronic migraines cause frequent throbbing headaches.

What Happens During Myofascial Release Therapy?

I will locate the fascial tissues that feel stiff and tight throughout your body, and these areas are commonly called trigger points or knots. Once I find the knots, I will apply gentle, constant pressure to these areas.

Usually, I won't use any oils or lotions, and I will need to be able to feel the tightness in your fascia. Pressure will be applied slowly in an attempt to lengthen your fascial tissues, and I will knead and stretch your fascial tissues repeatedly. When I feel the pressure and tension release, I'll move on.

What Happens After Myofascial Release Therapy?

After treatment, you may feel sore in the areas I stretched. But the soreness should go away fairly quickly, and you should feel looser in those areas than before.

 

You'll need to see me often to benefit from this treatment. Usually, I will recommend treatments every one to three days. Each session could last 15 to 50 minutes, and I recommend returning for sessions for a few weeks or months. It will depend on the cause and severity of your condition.

Benefits of Myofascial Release Therapy

Myofascial release therapy has many potential benefits. These benefits may include the following:

  • Pain management: Soreness may be reduced, and your tissues may start to recover.

  • Increased movement: The range of motion in your muscles and joints may improve.

  • Improved circulation: Your blood and oxygen may move more efficiently throughout your body.

  • Relaxation: Massage therapy has been shown to help your body relax and loosen knots.

  • Stress management: Tension throughout your body may be released.

Bottom Line

Like other massage therapy methods, myofascial release therapy doesn't have many risks. Rarely, myofascial release therapy can cause:

  • Internal bleeding.

  • Trouble moving your muscles.

  • Short-term paralysis.

  • Nerve damage.

 

If you have any of the following conditions, talk to your healthcare provider first. They may suggest avoiding myofascial release therapy or trying a different type of treatment.

  • Bone fractures

  • Burns

  • Open wounds

  • Deep vein thrombosis

  • Conditions that require blood thinners

  • Metabolic conditions

Upper Back Massage
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