What is Myofascial Release Therapy?

Myofascial Release (MFR) therapy has been used for over a century now in the effective treatment of difficult and recurring injuries. But first, what is Myofascia?

Myofascia is the tough, dense tissue that covers bones and muscles. The outermost covering, also known as fascia, is indeed very strong with a tensile strength of more than 200lbs but still very flexible. If you viewed it under a microscope, you’d see something like a fish net or a spider web. The Myofascia runs the whole length of the body right from beneath the toes to the topmost part of the head and is continuous such that you can’t tell where its starts or ends. You would say that Myofascia connects parts of the body to each other and you would actually be right.

It’s therefore easy to see why the Myofascia is so delicate; a damage or defect to one part of the “weave” would affect many distant parts of the body for quite a long time.

When everything is well and the body is functioning normally, the Myofascia helps control flexibility, maintain good posture and influences range of motion. It also contributes to body strength and helps you deal with most injuries.

A damaged or traumatized Myofascia can become overly tight often resulting in headaches, chronic neck and back pains, sciatica, difficulty in breathing, reduced flexibility, poor posture, recurring injuries, muscle pains, numbness and pins and needles.

The tissue can be damaged by inflammation, poor posture, injuries at work, prolonged sitting/standing, stress (emotional or psychological), traumas and repetitive actions such as keyboarding.

Myofascial release

Myofascial release therapy describes the set of techniques applied to relieve you of tight or short muscles. It is performed to break down the scarred tissue, relax the Myofascia and body muscles and to restore good posture. If administered effectively, the therapy can offset complete and long lasting relief to the patient.

Myofascial release techniques can be categorized into two; direct and indirect.

Direct Myofascial release

Also known as deep tissue work, direct Myofascial release directly engages the Myofascia, constantly loading the tissue with force until release is realized. The practitioner will use elbows, knuckles or other tools deemed right to carefully and slowly stretch the affected part of the fascia by loading it with a few kilograms of force. This action should directly alter the Myofascial structure through elongation or stretching or by mobilizing the adhesive tissues found in the fascia. Practitioners know how to move stepwise until they reach the inner tissues of the fascia.

Indirect Myofascial release

While direct release aims at stretching the fascia, indirect release is more about allowing the tissue to “unwind” on its own. As a result, only minimal pressure is usually applied; just enough to offset the unwinding. In this method, dysfunctional tissues are led into a path of low resistance until they are able to move freely again.

Application of Myofascial therapy

Myofascial therapy can be used in several areas including but not limited to treatment of;

  • Migraine headaches
  • Sports injuries
  • Arthritis
  • Carpal Tunnel syndrome
  • Low back pain
  • Stiff necks
  • Shoulder and hip pains
  • Temporal Mandibular Joint (TMJ)

Myofascial therapy is effective in improving muscle health as well as blood and lymphatic circulation and in relaxing contracted muscles. Treatments often last between 15 minutes and an hour. Just ensure that the pressure doesn’t get beyond what you can tolerate; you should always tell the practitioner when you feel it’s becoming unbearable.

For more information on our Myofascial Release Therapy and our other treatment options, get in touch with Chiro-Med Rehab Centre today. We’d be happy to answer any questions you might have about the best treatment options for your pain.