What is myofacial release, and its benefits? The simple answer, myofascial release is a form of massage therapy targeted at reducing the effects of fascia scarring. That probably makes things almost as clear as mud. Let us take a little closer look at this technique.
Before we discuss the massage methods used, you need to have a clear understanding of what we are targeting. Fascia is a white tissue which surrounds muscle fibers, organs, and even our bones. If you have examined meat very closely you may have noticed this white tissue, but just considered it part of the animals muscle tissue. Normally the fascia acts as a lubricant allowing muscle tissues to slide easily against each other, over the bones, and across the bodies organs.
When fascia becomes scarred through injury, or just due to aging, the lubricating properties can become obstructed, and instead you end up with painful resistance and reduced range of motion. This is the time a therapist trained in myofascial release can be very beneficial.
The massage techniques used in the release process are a deep penetrating massage, accompanied by long deliberate strokes. It is usually accompanied by stretching of the muscles and tissue in the affected areas to aid in separating and breaking down the scar tissue and restoring smooth moving muscles. This stretching is not done in the manner of most exercise or stretching you are familiar with. The stretching is done by the hands and techniques employed by the massage therapist. Do not expect to be feeling pain, it is usually a very pleasant massage, which you will probably wish could continue long beyond your scheduled session.
Myofascial massage can be done at home, too. Many people have great luck working with foam rollers and other forms of massage equipment to simulate the hands of the therapist. You will be focusing on a stretching and deep pushing massage, not the traditional vibrating or kneading types of massage. You are seeking to elongate the muscles and separate the fibers. It is much easier to accomplish a good myofascial release massage with the aid of a friend or family member, but some rollers allow you to massage yourself, too.
One of the best ways to learn how to practice or perform a good release massage at home is to have at least one session with a trained therapist. Observe and feel the type of massage they are using. You will be able to feel the depth and strength of their massage and try to imitate it at home. You will learn the proper direction and technique of adjusting the muscle groups which are giving you problems. Go ahead and ask the massage therapist if there is any equipment they can recommend for you to use at home to increase your benefits. Most therapists are excited to help their patients increase their health.
Now you have a better understanding of what is myofascial massage. You can see how it can help to reduce pain in your body, and increase your range of motion. Give this method of relief a chance, you will be very pleased with the results.