Frequently Asked Questions for Myofascial Release
What is Myofascial Release?
Let’s break it down, Myo- means muscle. Fascial refers to the word Fascia which is the connective tissue of the body.
Release- means to be free of or to let go.
So Myofascial Release or MFR is a form of Bodywork / Healing Art that helps release the fascial restrictions/adhesions that hold us back or entrap us in pain. MFR helps to restore the body’s ability to move freely without pain.
What is Fascia?
Fascia is the thin sheath of connective tissue that begins at the top of your head and runs uninterrupted all of the way to the tip of your toes. It’s like a three dimensional webbing or netting that encompasses every single muscle, bone, organ, nerve, blood and lymphatic vessel in the body.
Trauma, Inflammation and/or surgical procedures create Myofascial restrictions that can produce tensile pressures of up to 2000 lbs per sq inch on pain sensitive structures that do not show up in many of the traditional standard tests (X-ray, Myelograms, CAT scans, electromyography, etc.)
In late March 2018 medical scientists had discovered a new organ in the body and named it the Interstitium. It’s actually the Fascial System.
Fascia plays an important role in the support and function of our bodies, since it surrounds and attaches to all structures. In the normal healthy state, the fascia is relaxed and wavy in configuration. It has the ability to stretch and move without restriction. When one experiences physical trauma, emotional trauma, scarring, or inflammation, however, the fascia loses its pliability. It becomes tight, restricted and a source of tension to the rest of the body. Trauma, such as a fall, car accident, whiplash, surgery or just habitual poor posture and repetitive stress injuries has a cumulative effect on the body. Fascial restrictions can exert excessive pressure causing all kinds of symptoms producing pain, headaches or restriction of motion.
Fascial restrictions affect our flexibility and stability, and are a determining factor in our ability to withstand stress and perform daily activities.
How is Myofascial Release performed?
Each treatment begins with an evaluation of where the client’s aches and pains are stemming from. After a visual full body scan, looking for imbalances and asymmetries, as well as tissue mobilization and fluidity assessment. A treatment plan is created. Once the fascial restrictions/adhesions are located the therapist applies a light sustained pressure or stretch (according to the client’s comfort level) into the area that feels glued down. After a few minutes the tissue begins to slowly open up and then the stretch is increased to the next fascial barrier. This process is continued throughout the session. The therapist is guided by feedback both verbally and non-verbal cues that the client's body gives off. This feedback tells the therapist how much force to use, the direction of the stretch and how long to stretch.
Who Benefits From Myofascial Release?
Myofascial Release has been used to improve the health of the muscles and fascia, improve circulation and restore good posture. It has been used to treat head injuries, cerebral palsy, birth trauma, scoliosis, neurological dysfunction, trauma, headaches, constipation, sleep difficulties, joint pain and limited joint movement, back strain, chronic back pain, low back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, complex pain complaints, dizziness, vertigo, fibromyalgia, fibrositis, heachache, myofascial pain dysfunction,
plantar fasciitis, thoracic outlet syndrome, TMJ- Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction, trigger points and whiplash.
Does Myofascial Release therapy hurt?
Overall, myofascial release is a gentle hands on therapy that you usually will feel great after your sessions, especially early on in treatment. Some clients even fall asleep during treatment or take a nap afterwards. But there may be times when your body will respond to treatment with soreness. Once the fascial system has been affected, increased circulation enters the area through blood flow, carrying oxygen and nutrients critical to the healing
process, as well as pushing out the stagnated blood and build-up of lactic acid. Remember our bodies are fluid filled and require movement of fluid in our systems to function in harmony, and maintain homeostasis. Tell the therapist about sore areas because this is valuable information. It tells us where your restrictions are, and where else your body needs treatment. We encourage all of our patients to drink more water, especially after treatments, to help flush out the toxins that have been built up in your system over time. This will also help prevent any soreness.
What if my symptoms get worse?
This is what we refer to as a “healing crisis”. It can happen because your awareness has increased and you actually feel how much pain is really there. Most of us have tuned our pain out, and now you are fully feeling it. This increase in signs and symptoms is your body’s way of bringing awareness into what you are dealing with every day, but you “tune out” and don’t allow yourself to feel. Another reason is that you are getting into the deeper layers of the restrictions. The deeper you go into the restrictions, the closer you get to sensitive areas and as you go into the deeper layers the symptoms intensify and emotions may surface. There will be ups and downs which is normal. The body is not linear. Always remember JFB-MFR is not injurious.
Spending quiet time bringing awareness into your body will help you get in touch with what lies beneath the layers. Give your body permission to let go of anything that is no longer serving you, and give yourself permission to do and feel whatever you need in order to heal. The post treatment soreness gives the patient and therapist valuable information about where the restrictions are located. So make a note of what you feel and communicate it to your therapist to enhance your treatment experience, speed your results and feel better faster.
Does Myofascial Release work for any diagnosis?
Myofascial restrictions can create the symptoms of every diagnosis there is. At times well-meaning clinicians and patients, get caught up in the “diagnosis”. Remember most diagnoses are just naming of symptoms. It is a label placed on a person’s dysfunction. When you focus on a diagnosis and not the whole body you limit your results. The answer to the question, “Can MFR help with every diagnosis?” Well of course it can. Can it cure every diagnosis? No it cannot. As MFR therapists we learn that freeing up the body from restrictions will allow the body to function more efficiently, and many times correct itself. Not only will this help for acute trauma but also systemic, neural or chronic conditions. JFB-MFR will help peel back and free up not only the physical system restrictions but the emotions that are holding the straightjacket in place.
Is there a lot of talking during treatment?
We encourage you to share changes you have observed in your function between treatments at the beginning of each session. Then to benefit from the MFR process we encourage you to quiet your mind and relax your body so authentic healing can occur.