Let’s first look at what Fascia is. The fascia is a connective tissue, a fibrous network of collagen and elastin fibres surrounded by a fluid called ground substance (which works as a shock absorber). Fascia is entwined throughout the body and runs without interruption from head to toe. Fascia is also the strength of the body.
Myofascial Release or MFR is a specialised treatment that releases the restrictions within the fascial network. It is a hands-on, manual therapy focusing on soft tissue dysfunction, pain and tension.
Imagine picking up a lump of play dough that has been left out on the side for a couple of days; it probably feels crusty, hard and stiff. This is what can happen to the fascia (connective tissue) with the day to day stresses that affect our bodies. So what can be done? Think back to the play dough. After warming it in your hand and then using gentle movements, it becomes easier to manipulate and shape. It's similar with our muscles, MFR uses gentle, sustained pressure to relieve the tension and bring back the flexibility.
There are different moves used within MFR and their purpose is to reach the deeper layers of the body. The moves are stretches, skin roll and the J-move. The stretches can be applied for 3-5 minutes at a time. As the therapist’s hands sink down into the area, you may not always feel the stretch working, but after the full treatment your body will definitely feel freer, less stressed and lighter. The skin roll and J-move can sometimes be uncomfortable, but the discomfort fades away once the move is finished.
Myofascial release techniques relax and lengthen muscles and soft tissue. This allows our bodies to move more freely and without pain or stiffness. MFR can also relieve long term injuries, chronic joint pain, reduce pain from repetitive strain on muscles and especially help those who suffer from stress. Another brilliant benefit is that inflammation of the muscles can be reduced. This is achieved by the therapist holding the stretches for 5 minutes. This is a great massage therapy technique.
MFR techniques are becoming very popular as a way of working with the body to relieve pain and stress. It is a more gentle approach to the body, but with it's ability to reach the deep layers, it is a perfect massage for those who want to relax while having painful points worked on and released.