Monday, 14 June 2021

What is Fascia? Myofascial Release explained.

A few years ago I completed an Advanced Clinical Diploma in Myofascial Release to complement my Sports Massage & Remedial Therapy qualifications. I loved every minute of this course, even the research and assignments, and especially all the practical application - both giving and receiving treatments. I integrate Myofascial Release techniques into the majority of my treatments, so I thought I would explain more. 
 
Myofascial release are hands-on total body techniques for acute and chronic pain and overall well-being to “release” soft tissue restrictions, scar tissue and postural patterns. These restrictions could form as a result of injury, stress, trauma, repeated movements at work, sport, how we sleep or poor posture? Our bodies’ fascial layers lay down adaptive patterns depending on our personal everyday movements and use.

So what is Fascia?

Fascia is a network of connective tissue, I often describe it has the one big yellow onesie that encapsulates our entire body, from top to toes. It is one continuous adjustable 3D bio-tensegrity, tissue that binds and enfolds all of our movement soft tissues (so muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints ) PLUS our bones, organs, cells, circulatory and nervous system too, so no part of our body moves or exists in isolation.

The importance of fascia and “everything being connected” is relatively new scientifically. Understanding how our bodies move, carry tension, distribute force and absorb impact plus throw in our real-life movement is ALL a very individual thing and is influenced by many variables. When we move and our muscles either contract or elongate and the fascia can amplify the muscles force by approx. 30%. I always like to imagine a golf swing or rowing movement and how we compress and load and then our propulsion comes from body extending.

When we are healthy fascia provides tension, support, cushioning, protection and is able to adapt and so allows us to move safely and freely, plus it allows beneficial fluid flow. Fascia has fibrous qualities providing our support but also has an element of elasticity and hence provides us with “our spring in our step”.

Fascia is also very highly innervated with sensory neurons, which respond to touch, pressure, load, temperature and movement and it plays a huge role in proprioception, interoception and nociception. To explain these later 3 are our sense of where our body is in space, our inner sense of self and how we perceive pain. Our fascia needs to be able to adapt and morph to distribute forces and maintain appropriate pressure from our everyday lives however if it can’t adapt then eventually dysfunction and over time restrictions and inefficient movement occur through the whole body. Hence, with any physical or emotional trauma fascia can bind and restrictions can occur in parts of the body.

Restricted, over used, weak fascia can all make us prone to injuries and chronic pain and can cause pain, numbness, tingling, stiffness and headaches.
 

Myofascial Release treatment

Myofascial Release is a term used to describe a variety of hands-on treatment techniques, which treat acute injury and chronic pain. The treatment is not just about where the restrictions or pain are felt but where they might be coming from across the whole body. The techniques may involve compression, traction, position of ease, rebounding, unwinding and mobilisation of the fascia. They are gentle and subtle techniques applied with “listening hands” following the “yield and release” (these are purely descriptive words to describe the feeling) of the soft tissues.

Myofascial release techniques are suitable for many chronic on-going conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, MS, treating sensitive soft tissues through cancer treatment, nerve sensitisation etc
I integrate these Myofascial release techniques alongside other soft tissue ones and sometimes I treat purely using these techniques which allows a very natural, relaxing and invasive approach.


If you have any question about Myofascial release you can read more Here or please email Email or call 07738257873 to discuss any queries or make an appointment.

Nicky

Sports Massage and Remedial Massage Therapist
Advanced Clinical Dip. in Myofascial Release
MSMA