Myofascial tissue truly fascinates me. Did you know that out of all our body systems it is the largest of them all? Because it is the system that touches all the body systems.
Myofascial tissue is actually connective tissue, that is thin, strong and spans the entire body from top to toe, a bit like a wetsuit. Myofascial tissue envelops the body the same way a wetsuit does. Did you know it has a tensile strength of more than 2000 pounds, allowing it to be strong support for the muscles?
What is its function?
Well, it is part of the body’s protection and support system for our bones and muscles, and it is made up of two types of fibres – collagen and elastin. These two fibres are so intricate that they arrange themselves as if to be a web-like structure, suspended within a fluid known as ground substance. This structure allows for flexibility.
What is myofascial release therapy?
This therapy is both safe and effective. It is a hands-on technique performed directly on the skin without the use of oils, creams or devices. This way I can accurately identify and release any fascial restrictions, without applying too much pressure to facilitate release. I apply gentle sustained pressure into the connective tissue (myofascia), that may be restricted, to help reduce/alleviate all pain, and to restore motion. If it is needed I will stretch out and loosen the tightened fascia, as this will be restricting any blood flow to the area, in turn enhancing both lymphatic drainage and circulation. Ultimately this will decrease any pressure on the nerves that will have been compressed at trigger point sites.
During a session, I use a variety of myofascial release techniques and movement techniques to help release trigger point adhesions. Following this, I will further aid my clients by promoting their independence. I aim to educate them on body mechanics and to know what to do to help themselves. This may involve self-treatment instructions, movements to be carried out daily to enhance flexibility and most importantly postural awareness movement homework to complete.
Why is Myofascial release needed?
Trauma and inflammation to the myofascial tissue can change it from being soft and relaxed to tight and rigid. Restriction in a persons’ muscle motion can be a result of knots and or adhesions developing within the ‘traumatised’ myofascial tissue. Trigger points are what we call these, and they are able to develop and cause a lot of pain to any part of the body.
When a client presents themselves to me with any of the following: chronic back and neck pain, headaches and a decrease in their range of motion/flexibility. I immediately suspect the myofascial tissue, and its potential to be the problem at hand.
Sometimes a person can simply fall and land awkwardly to create whiplash trauma on impact, and so will benefit from myofascial release. Chronic bad posture is another physical stress that can cause myofascial tissue to tighten. However, it is not all about the physical. Did you know that emotional stress can have a detrimental effect on fascia too?
If you are suffering from chronic back pain and you have already been to a chiropractor, an osteopath, a physio and/or sports massage therapist then you may need to consider what you have just read as being the culprit. Venture out and find a myofascial tissue expert, or just come to me for help! I am always looking to identify any issues, biomechanically, that a client may have and to aid them with a solution to any problem identified.